I was very interested to find this column on the NY Times’ web site. Overall, I really like it. I hadn’t heard of Ben Roethlisberger before, but the fact that I haven’t heard of something is hardly evidence of anything at all. I’ve fallen woefully behind on current events coverage of late. But I like reading columns about how behavior like his is wholly unacceptable and should be considered unacceptable by the community at large, including by major corporations, and if I were in the market for athletic shoes, well, I certainly wouldn’t be buying Nikes now.
But I find the inclusion of Tiger Woods in this article a bit puzzling. Ben Roethlisberger has sexually assaulted and raped women (ALLEGEDLY). Kobe Bryant, who is also name-checked, raped a woman (ALLEGEDLY). Tiger Woods didn’t rape anybody as far as I am aware. He committed many, many acts of adultery, which is certainly disrespectful of his wife, and certainly seems to indicate a certain sense of entitlement. But isn’t rape a whole ‘nother ball game? Adultery is bad, yes, but isn’t rape, like, a million times worse? I mean, okay, technically, Kobe Bryant was also committing adultery when he raped (ALLEGEDLY) that girl, but it’s not the adultery we care about, right? It’s the rape. So is it really fair to conflate them the way columnist Timothy Egan does?
I don’t say this because I want to protect poor widdle Tiger. I say it because distinctions are important.