Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Tiger Woods' Online Confession
Aired December 2, 2009 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Tiger Woods confesses, admitting transgressions, personal sins -- about what?
His online apology doesn't spell anything out, but, clearly, he's in trouble.
Is his one squeaky clean image tarnished forever?
What about his brand, his name, his talent?
It's made him millions.
Tiger Woods, what now?
Next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We're going to begin, by the way, with two of the best sportswriters in the business.
Rick Reilly, the award-winning sportswriter and columnist for "ESPN The Magazine." He also hosts ESPN's "Homecoming with Rick Reilly," a terrific show, by the way.
And in Washington, Christine Brennan, "USA Today" sports columnist and a commentator for ESPN, as well.
But first, Tiger Woods admits to personal sins and being far short of perfect in a statement posted today on his Web site. Here are the comments in their entirety: "I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all my heart. I've not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves.
I am not without fault and I am far short of perfect. I'm dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.
Although I'm a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.
But no matter how intense the securiost -- curiosity, rather -- about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake -- the right to some simple human measure of privacy.
I realize there are some who don't share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one's own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions.
Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought. I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle, even though it's difficult. I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology." Rick, what do you think of that?
RICK REILLY, SPORTSWRITER: It's staggering. I mean it's staggering. I mean I've covered this guy since his freshman year at Stanford. And he got burned by "GQ" when he was just starting out on tour. A "GQ" writer got him saying some stuff that he wished he'd never said and he has shut us down ever since.
He has lived a spotless personal life. And if he can answer a question in three, he'd rather do it in two. He doesn't ever give -- he's like a hostile murder witness. He gives you nothing. For him to come out and -- and talk about personal failures -- he's the most competitive guy I ever met. I mean if -- if you play ping pong with him, he just keeps playing until he wins. If you ski with him, he throws his pole when he falls. If -- if you golf, you can see him throwing clubs. He's got to win at all times.
So to come out and say failure and I let my family down, this has got to be killing him.
KING: Christine, you wrote today very critically about him...
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, COMMENTATOR, ESPN: Yes, well, I...
KING: What -- where did that stem from?
KING: Why -- you were rough today.
BRENNAN: Well, it's going to be in tomorrow's "USA Today," but I guess it's online. The -- yes. I mean what an apology, huh?
The first paragraph, Larry, is an apology. The second two paragraphs he attacks everybody else when, of course, this is a self- induced scandal. Tiger Woods has no one to blame for this but himself. And I think it's an amazing window, Larry, into the psyche of Tiger Woods, that even as he is quote/unquote apologizing, you wonder -- and I hope I am wrong on this. But you do wonder if, in fact, he feels worse about getting caught than he does about cheating on his wife.
And for those who say, oh, let him have his private life -- and I, you know, for all the many days that the tabloids were going crazy, I was trying to ignore that and -- and just go with the facts.
But, you know, picture this, he -- he's always on his Web site, Larry -- and, Rick, of, you know this -- the family pictures, the beautiful image of him as a family man. Well, now, we know that's a charade.
And I think it's fair as a man who asks for the money from all of the endorsements he gets and wants you to buy his products and wants you to cheer for him on the golf course and watch that, but then he wants to us shut out completely. I don't know that you can have it both ways in today's society.
REILLY: Well, beyond that, this is a guy that runs a school. And if you -- if you purport to be an educator, this is a teaching experience. You can't run and hide. And I thought -- I thought it was wrong for him to just stonewall everything. And plus, it's just dumb. This is the age of the digital posse. I mean they're going to get you if you set yourself. If you say I'm not -- you can't get me, they're going to get you.
KING: Would he be better off coming forward with his wife, as Kobe did?
Now, Kobe had a criminal charge at the time.
Would he be better off coming forward publicly, not through a Web site?
REILLY: No, I think -- I think publicly would be great, but I'm not sure he wants to show that face.
KING: That's not him?
REILLY: No, I'm talking with the cuts and the bruises.
REILLY: I'm not sure he wants to show that. So he's got to go with his -- his Web site. But I thought it was an amazing statement for him to -- to make.
But he's got -- if he'd have been on top of it -- remember Bobby Kennedy's life?
He said if you've got a problem, hang a lantern on it and hang a lantern on it right away. And he didn't do that. He challenged this -- the digital world to come after him and they're killing him.
KING: But, Christine, didn't you and the rest of the media who covered him all these years like him?
BRENNAN: As Rick said, we...
KING: Everybody rooted for him. BRENNAN: Well, you know, as Rick said -- and -- and Rick and I have covered Tiger for a long time -- you know, we don't really know him. And -- and even those who know him don't really know him. And he's kept his -- his privacy very guarded which -- which, by the way, is his right. I'm not saying that that's wrong. It's -- it's about corporate acquiescence, about keeping his sponsors happy.
Occasionally he did speak out. He spoke out and he said that Augusta National should have women members. He was the only pro to do that. I think that's a good thing. And, frankly, I think he's much -- been maturing and doing some things that -- that you would -- you would want of a -- a man in his early to mid-30s.
This is a clearly a step backwards, Larry. I mean this is -- this is stunning. And, you know, when you hear his voice this morning -- as I said, I was trying to avoid the tabloids. You know, we weren't quite sure exactly what was true and what wasn't -- he said/she said, all that stuff. We've seen that a million times before. And then you hear his voice on that -- that voice mail tape. And wow! I mean, that's pretty bad.
REILLY: That's -- yes. That's -- that's Lesson 101 in philandering superstar. You never leave a voice mail. Never. That -- that's so easily covered. And you're surprised a guy that careful would do that, not to say what he did was right. But, boy, I thought he was easily caught.
I mean those things -- it could probably -- what do think it sold for, 100 grand?
KING: You wrote a column this summer complaining about his tantrums on the golf course, saying he'd grown up in every other area but that.
REILLY: Yes, in fact I do think -- I do think he needs to grow up. And I think maybe, you know, when your dad, who he was so close to, he's not there -- you know, everybody needs someone to disappoint. And he's had no one to disappoint lately, you know. And I think he thought he -- you know, if I could hit a ball 350 yards and land it on a pot holder and people reached out to try to touch me and guys are paying me $100 million just to put their name next to mine, maybe I'd start thinking I am a superstar. Maybe I think I am superman. And so you start thinking you can get away with anything. But you can't, not in this day and age.
So I think this is going to help him grow up. I wish -- I hope that he stops swearing on the course. He's got kids that follow his every move, mimic everything he does. This -- there is a -- it's going to be hard for him to grow up in front of the world now.
KING: Christine, can it go away?
BRENNAN: I -- I think it eventually will go away, unless -- I talked to some experts today, Larry, who said that the only really bad thing to come, potential, is the drip, drip, drip. If this -- if there's more. And hopefully Tiger has -- has dealt with it and it's -- it's done. And only Tiger knows, obviously. And if there are other women, what have you.
But, yes. Oh, I think, when Tiger actually shows up on a golf course, you know, it's going to be huge. I think the ratings will go through the roof. He's not going to lose his sponsors. Nike loves this kind of stuff. Probably most of the others do, as well.
And, you know, so I think next year's Masters -- obviously, events before then -- we'll be -- we'll be watching. We may not think the same of Tiger Woods ever again, but we will -- and we may not look at him the same way ever again, Larry, but we will be watching.
KING: You think he got big ratings before, wait until the next tournament.
REILLY: I don't know if he can stay married for -- for...
REILLY: You know, Tiger's wife, one of her best friends is Jesper Parnevik's wife. They are the ones that set them up and she was their nanny. He came out today and said I wish she -- I wished she'd have used the driver. I'm -- I'm sorry I ever set them up.
REILLY: So that tells me Elin is telling Jesper and his wife...
REILLY: ...I am mad.
KING: Christine -- Rick will be back with us later.
Christine, thanks so much.
We look forward to having you on again.
BRENNAN: Thank you, Larry.
KING: And for everybody, I did see it off the -- I did see it on -- on a blog or a thing, so -- whatever it was I saw. It will be -- the column will be in "USA Today" tomorrow.
BRENNAN: That's correct, Larry.
KING: Rick will be back later.
Those who have -- have a -- OK, tomorrow. Read it.
Those who have experience with a celebrity crisis or two are here.
And how would they advise Tiger?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. KIM MONTES, FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL: And Mr. Woods is at fault in the crash. Insufficient evidence issuing a uniform traffic citation. There are no claims of domestic violence by any individual.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Tiger's, by the way, squeaky clean image may be kaput, but so far, his mega million sponsors are sticking with him.
Some examples. Nike says: "Nike supports Tiger and his family. Our relationship remains unchanged."
Gatorade says: "Tiger and his family have our support. As they work through their private matter, our partnership continues."
We now welcome Pat O'Brien, television personality. He's known Tiger Woods for many years. He's interviewed him many times.
Howard Bragman, celebrity publicist, crisis communications expert, chairman of Fifteen Minutes.
Mark Geragos is a well known defense attorney.
And in Atlanta, David Cornwell, sports attorney. He's president of DNK Cornwell. "The Washington Post" has described him as "a cleaner, a man with a talent for making high profile athletes' problems disappear." Pat O'Brien, you know, him you've interviewed him.
How surprised are you?
PAT O'BRIEN, TV PERSONALITY: Well, I was surprised, you know, Larry. But I think in the day -- this day and age, nobody goes undefeated. And that includes Tiger Woods. I think he's a victim of his own image, the one that he set up for himself.
I'm a little more surprised that it's getting as much or more coverage than the 30,000 men and women we're sending from the speech of Obama the other night.
But, you know what, as he pointed out in his statement today, which I thought was five days late, he's human and these things happen.
KING: Was it too late, Howard?
HOWARD BRAGMAN, CELEBRITY PUBLICIST, CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT: Oh, actual...
KING: Not too late.
Was it late, late? BRAGMAN: It was too late. It was the second statement. And, you know, I think there was a better way to do it than another statement. I think people wanted to hear Tiger because people like Tiger. And they want to hear him. And when you don't -- when they don't hear...
KING: You mean hear his voice?
BRAGMAN: They hear his voice and he...
KING: He should have done what, a radio?
BRAGMAN: He should have called you. He should have called you, literally, on the air, called somebody he was comfortable...
KING: (INAUDIBLE) he didn't have to (INAUDIBLE) his face was -- he didn't have to be heard?
BRAGMAN: He didn't have to do the face. He could have said I'm home healing and my doctor doesn't want me to leave, but I want people to know and it would have helped a lot.
KING: That's what you would have advised?
KING: David Cornwell, what would you have advised?
This is your specialty, too.
DAVID CORNWELL, SPORTS ATTORNEY: Well, given what we know how, I think I agree with -- with Larry that it was a -- it was a little too late. The statement that he released today should have been released immediately after the accident.
But you have to recognize -- and good people do bad things. Tiger still is an extraordinary talent and he is still a young man who's remarkably poised. And these are the things that he should embrace and build upon as he rebuilds his image and re-earns the trust of the public.
KING: And Mr. Geragos, from a -- he's going to need an attorney, doesn't he?
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He doesn't -- he doesn't need an attorney. You know, it might have been a millisecond too late. It doesn't matter. This guy's got a reservoir of goodwill. He's going to get through it. I don't think that there's any real problem here. And I'm kind of with Pat. It never ceases to amaze me the preoccupation with the dalliances of the rich and the powerful. It's just -- it's mind-boggling to me.
KING: It's not new, is it?
GERAGOS: In Europe...
KING: And it's (INAUDIBLE)?
GERAGOS: It's not new. It happens all the time. Anybody who doesn't think this goes on constantly and consistently is naive. And like I -- I've said before, I mean in Europe, they -- they kind of laugh at how silly this is.
KING: But it's always gone on, hasn't it?
It's just there's more exposure now. There's...
GERAGOS: There's -- there's more exposure now, I mean, than there ever was, I suppose. And the thing that -- that, also, I think is somewhat humorous is this idea that somehow you're going to just wait it out and that nobody's going to know. I mean, obviously, on the way over here today on the radio, they were playing constantly that voice mail message of his. So obviously, he knew...
KING: That he left -- that he left the girlfriend.
GERAGOS: Right. Yes, that he left, apparently, the other person. So you knew that was going to come out. You knew that that was something he was going to have to deal with.
But like I said, he's got a reservoir of goodwill. If -- if people can get through felonies and rehabuit their ima -- and rehabilitate their image, I think he can get through a traffic ticket.
KING: We'll pick up thoughts in a couple of moments, Pat, beginning with Pat.
Will Tiger's admitted transgressions hurt his career -- the career now. That's tonight's question on our blog. Give us your thoughts. Go to CNN.com/larryking and tell us what you think.
Back in 60 seconds.
KING: There are, of course, others who have made mistakes in their personal lives.
Take a look at some of them and how they explained it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN," OCTOBER 2009, COURTESY WORLDWIDE PANTS INC.)
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: I have had sex with women who work for me on this show. Now, my response to that is yes, I have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM JUNE 2009)
GOV. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: And the bottom line is this. I -- I've been unfaith to my wife. It began very innocently, as I suspect many of these things do. (END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "NIGHTLINE," COURTESY ABC NEWS)
JOHN EDWARDS, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was painful for her -- hard and painful for her. But she responded exactly the -- like the kind of woman she is. I mean she forgave me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM 2003)
KOBE BRYANT: I'm disgusted at myself for making a mistake of adultery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM MARCH 2008)
ELIOT SPITZER, FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and that violates mine or any sense of right and wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM AUGUST 1998)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss. Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Of course, except for Kobe, all of those were on the public trust.
Pat, how do they -- and where do they go from here?
O'BRIEN: Well, you know, Winston Churchill said, when you're walking through hell, keep walking. And that's what they...
O'BRIEN: ...that's what they've got to do. I mean, you know, look, Kobe is doing fine. Martha Stewart was in jail and she's doing find. A-Rod is doing fine. You know, some of the reporters and sportscasters that talk about Kobe have gone through personal battles and they're doing fine.
So, you know, I think, in time, this goes away. You've got to live with the Internet, though.
I mean can you imagine if the Internet was around for the athletes that we grew up watching?
And... KING: The Babe Ruths or the -- well, not Babe Ruths, but the DiMaggios, the Mantles?
O'BRIEN: Yes, the Mantles and those guys and the John F. Kennedys and...
BRAGMAN: And -- and I've got to tell you, I deal with this everyday, with celebrities in crisis. And you hit it, Pat. It's about transparency. Things that we thought were private are not private -- e-mails. Everybody's got a camera phone everywhere. Everybody's Twittering. Everybody's taking a picture.
BRAGMAN: And there should be a lesson for other celebrities here.
KING: So what, if anything, should Tiger Woods do now?
Some answers. We'll ask David Cornwell and the others after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tiger Woods' accident. The golfer is being issued a careless driving citation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speculation over what really caused his early morning auto accident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a marital scandal that has erupted as a result of that...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As one scandal ends, another begins.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: All right, David Cornwell, this is your bailiwick. You're sitting with Tiger.
What's your advice?
CORNWELL: You -- first, you recognize that you are going through a personal tragedy. And it's impossible to separate the personal from the professional, primarily because the public expects authenticity. They want to see authentic remorse. He doesn't get to get a mulligan on this.
So he has to be able to go through the process of dealing with this terrible exposure about his marriage coming apart in a way that enables him also to present himself to the public in an authentically remorseful way and begin to rebuild his brand, which is character, focus, discipline -- all the things that make Tiger Woods Tiger Woods. And it's going to take him a while. I happen to think that at some point, we may very well see him on this show expressing to the public, through you, how sorry he is for what has happened and how sorry he is not only for letting his family down, but also for letting the people that support him down.
KING: Are you saying, David, that a Web message isn't enough?
CORNWELL: I really don't think it is. But I -- my sense is that the -- the cuts on his face are just something that he's not ready to explain or maybe he can't explain, because it's unlikely that it happened in the auto accident without an air bag deploying. So I'm certain it's because of the -- the cuts on his face that he hasn't been -- been seen publicly.
KING: Do you agree, Mark?
GERAGOS: I don't know.
I -- you know what I think?
I think he's just waiting and hoping over there that some -- some other celebrity commits a felony or something else does something incredibly stupid and this -- and this shifts. And the last thing...
KING: Well, there's not many people bigger than him.
GERAGOS: Well, it doesn't have to be bigger, it just has to be crazier. So that -- and that can happen.
BRAGMAN: It happens, trust me.
GERAGOS: Right. It happens.
BRAGMAN: I get those calls.
GERAGOS: It happens with such frequency...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get those calls.
GERAGOS: ...and the -- the number of things that you can't squelch, that if they get out there, that could shift the focus.
And I mean, who knows?
I mean I -- I remember how many times we've gone through various scandals here and then we think, is this ever going to end?
And then, boom, the next day it's something else.
KING: Pat, if there is something else, should he come out with it? O'BRIEN: Yes, I think if he's the right handlers he'll sit down with them -- both of these guys will agree -- is there anything else?
I mean you've got to have that...
KING: That would be the first thing you'd ask?
O'BRIEN: You have to have that conversation right away -- is there anything else?
Let's get in front of it this time. So I think probably you might see a couple more women here and there. But I think he's taken care of that with transgressions and, you know...
BRAGMAN: And he didn't define transgressions. But what David said that was right is two things. One, he needs to come to a place like this, where he's going to get a fair hearing, put his face out there, look sincere and remorseful and be sincere and remorseful.
And -- and what I always have to teach my clients is there's a secret ingredient and that's called time. Over time, we forgive an awful lot of things. It doesn't happen over the weekend.
KING: Do you teach remorse?
You're either remorseful or you're not.
KING: Or do you guys teach it?
BRAGMAN: You teach him how to show it, I mean, you know...
KING: Would the old George Burns thing, the secret of sincerity -- if you can fake it, you've got it made?
BRAGMAN: You know what?
I think you would be shocked that most celebrities who get in trouble, it does make them stop, this -- this...
KING: They are remorseful.
BRAGMAN: ...this roller coaster they're on and they feel it and they go wait. I mean, I'll tell you a true story. Michael Vick on Friday -- I didn't -- I wasn't involved with dog fighting, I had nothing to do with it. On Monday, he apologized and he found Jesus over the weekend. It doesn't always work that quickly.
O'BRIEN: I'll tell you one thing, I bet a lot of people are looking at their PDAs and pushing the delete button.
(LAUGHTER) GERAGOS: Well, I was going to say, that's one of the first things you do in these situations. I always tell the client, give me your authorization, because I'm getting your phone records and I'm going to get them immediately because I want to know what's out there and what's going to -- what's going to pop up.
KING: Does it always come out, David?
CORNWELL: It seems...
KING: It seems that way.
CORNWELL: It certainly seems that way. And that's why you do have the tough conversation with your client very early in the process. And I wonder what happened over the weekend with Tiger and his advisers, whether he told them everything or whether they made the difficult point to him, if there's anything out there, we need to know about it and deal with it.
Certainly, knowing what we know today, he -- he was too late with this statement. And, yes, whatever is out there, it always seems to come out.
But, Pat, if it's on their PDA, it's too late, because it's on somebody else's now, too.
KING: We'll take a break and come back with more.
And Tiger, of course, has an open invitation to appear on this show. He's been here before.
We'll be right back.
KING: Pat O'Brien, you've gone through personal tribulations that got into the press.
KING: Any advice in that area? When you're going through it, what's it like?
O'BRIEN: It's no fun. It's embarrassing, and it's humiliating. You really have no apologies except to your family, those you hurt close to you. You got to be a man, own up to it. The three A's, admit, apologize and advance.
I'm sitting two feet from Larry King, so it really didn't hurt me all that much. You got to get in front of it. I didn't really do anything wrong. It was just embarrassing to me. In this day and age, it's going to come out.
KING: Do you need the wife to help now, Howard?
BRAGMAN: Absolutely. KING: Is she paramount now?
BRAGMAN: Yeah, but I don't think she's coming out tomorrow with him. I think there's going to take some time. I think they have to stabilize the relationship now, having gone through this moment. I think he's got a little time to do this, what we call the catharsis interview. If she's at his side, much -- it's much better.
KING: Mark, does she have to play a part in this?
GERAGOS: I don't think so. I go back to the fact that this guy is an icon, number one. And, you know, you're talking -- his core audience, number one, are golfers. Can you get a higher adultery level than among golfers? So it's not like this is going to hurt him.
KING: Now, wait a minute, you're condemning everybody out there golfing?
GERAGOS: I'm not condemning them.
KING: Female golfers, too?
GERAGOS: Well, they've got a lot of time.
KING: Long tour?
GERAGOS: Exactly right. The golf community isn't going to say anything other than the guy's human.
BRAGMAN: Larry, I want to say one thing. You're right about him being an icon. But even listening to the sports people talking about the club throwing, all of the stuff that's coming up, it's been a shift. It's never going to be the same as it was before. It used to be you would read about a tournament. It doesn't say Joe Schmoe in is the lead. It says Tiger is two strokes off.
O'BRIEN: He's too big to fail.
KING: David, what is his -- that first tournament -- he's taking two months off. I imagine it's probably February, Hawaii, right? What's that going to be like, David? February, Hawaii?
CORNWELL: I thought it was going to be at Torrey Pines at the end of the January. But wherever it is, it's going to be a zoo.
KING: You may be right. It may be Torrey Pines.
CORNWELL: He better be well prepared, because he will be in the public eye. This is not going to be a circumstance where he's going to be able to stay in the clubhouse and issue statements through the website. So he has to be well prepared. And frankly, I think it would be smart for him to make himself available before the golf tournament, to get this out of the way, because he doesn't want this distraction hanging over him for the next two months. As soon as his face is cleared up, I would advise him to find a way to get out into the public eye and address this. And I'm not sure -- KING: On LARRY KING LIVE, right?
CORNWELL: I think it's a great place to start. But I'm not sure that he needs to have his wife standing next to him, because that's such a cliche. And as I mentioned earlier, sincerity and authenticity is what's important now in rebuilding his trust in the relationship with the public and his sponsorships. And if he just trots out his woman standing by her man, and it's not authentic, I think people will see through that and it won't not it; it will just prolong it. So --
KING: Pat, you've covered sports? How do you think he'll play? How well will he play?
O'BRIEN: Well, he's the best who ever played, in my opinion. He's got nerves of steel. He's going to have to have them for this, I'll tell you that, Larry, because the fans will try to get in his head, even fans of his.
KING: They like him.
O'BRIEN: They love him. But still, you've got fans out there that will scream out anything. Also, you know, I think we got to let up on this a little bit, because there's a personal side to this. He's got a family. He's got kids. They're under one roof. They're maybe even watching this now. That's a sad, sad story. I think it's time to let them heal. Whether we will let them do that, I don't know.
KING: Thank you, Pat. Thank you, Mark. Thank you, David. We will hold Howard for the next segment and come back.
How will Tiger Woods handle this with the kids? Damage control, next.
KING: Howard Bragman remains. And we're joined by Dr. Robi Ludwig, the psychotherapist, and author of "Til Death Do Us Part." Robi, you're the father of a young boy who is a kind of tennis prodigy -- or a golf prodigy, I'm sorry. He's 11 years old or 12 years old. He comes over here. Tiger is his hero, and his picture is on the kid's wall. What do you say to him?
ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: I think you can admire someone for their wonderful skills as an athlete. Just because someone is an amazing athlete that has wonderful skill, it doesn't mean that they're amazing in all the various areas of their life. I think that's the mistake that we often give to some of these famous people. We idolize them. We idealize them. We make them perfect when they're not. So I think if we can help a child understand that just because someone has a talent --
KING: Do you say that to a child?
LUDWIG: You might. I mean, if a scandal comes out, you can explain to a child, listen, just because somebody is highly developed in one area doesn't make them perfect, and that's the way people are. I think that would be a very valuable lesson.
KING: How does the wife cope with this? How does the wife -- you've advised us all the time. How does the wife cope with this?
LUDWIG: You really have to ask the wife or she needs to ask herself, what does she want at this point. It's probably too soon to really know. I think she needs to feel her hurt and pain privately, probably only talk to close people that she trusts and decide, you know, is she willing to be in a relationship that's very high-profile where this happened.
She is married to a famous guy, where many women are going to throw themselves at him. Is that something that she can deal with? Can she live with him knowing that he's imperfect, that he made a mistake, but that they go towards their marriage in a new direction?
KING: Do you have to advise clients, Howard, on not just public, but how they deal with their marriage?
BRAGMAN: Absolutely, when you do crisis PR, you have to be part publicist and part therapist. What you have to teach them is there are times you say, forget what the public thinks; what's important to you and your loved ones and your family? Ultimately, if you can make them happy, you either forget what the public is, or you make the public accept that.
KING: Well said. How does she deal, Robi, with public ridicule. She goes out to the market?
LUDWIG: I think she ignores it. I think you have to put on your game face. She probably has close trusted people, hopefully, that she can talk to. But I think what she says is very little. Less is more in this case. She doesn't need to explain anything to the public. It's really none of their business. All she should say is something like this: you know, I love my husband, and, you know, we are going through a tough time privately. And I appreciate you respecting my privacy. Something along those lines, really, but not fueling the fire at all.
And she doesn't need to answer to the public. And the public, ultimately, will feed into however it is that they deal with it. If they come through this strongly, then people will respect their relationship.
KING: Assuming that it was her that acted violently toward him, assuming that, what's the effect on his public image based on that?
BRAGMAN: Well, the question is, are we going to find out that truth? My experience is that --
KING: Everybody will assume.
BRAGMAN: My experience is the truth will come out, that in this transparent world, we're going to do it. And I think they have to deal with it together. You know, like Robi just talked about, and like you just asked me, they have to come to their own understanding. And that's not something -- they're in the middle of this thing. It's like the hurricane has just blown their house away. You have to gather your thoughts, gather your possessions. Make your marriage work for yourselves. Get some counseling. Get some help. And then come out together with a unified front.
KING: Do you understand, Robi, when a spouse is violent when learning of something like this?
LUDWIG: Well, it's very -- there are many women and men who will be highly reactive when they find out a spouse is cheating on them. It's a feeling of rejection. Your image of the partner is completely shattered. The trust level is shattered. And there's the feeling why am I not good enough? Why am I not enough in order to hold your attention? When really it may have absolutely nothing to do with the quality of one's marriage.
I meaner, that is what is so shocking to a lot of people. People cheat for all kinds of reasons, especially high-powered famous men. You know, they have a personality structure that might make them more vulnerable to cheating. They like the excitement. They're alpha males. They have women throwing themselves at them. Also, there's a feeling of grandiosity. I'm special; I can get away with things that others can't. Of course, that's never really the case.
So I think probably what needs to happen is she needs to understand a lot more about the dynamics of the situation and find a way to come to terms with it. But the initial reaction is probably like "I want to kill him."
KING: Thanks, Dr. Ludwig, as always. Howard, always good calling on you. Howard Bragman, Dr. Robi Ludwig. The crash cost tiger 164 dollars in fines. What about his image, the ability to make even more millions? We'll ask people who know in 60 seconds.
KING: David Cornwell returns, the sports attorney and president of VMT Cornwell. He's in Atlanta. Joining us is Johnny Deutsch, chairman of Deutsch Incorporated, a two billion dollar advertising agency, and an expert on things like this. And Rick Reilly is with us, the award-winning sports writer and columnist for ESPN, and host of "Homecoming With Rick Reilly."
Tiger Woods was here in 1998, before he was married. He spoke about dating, and how difficult it can be when you're rich, young and famous? Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Do you want to get married and have a family?
WOODS: Do I want to? No. It will happen. I'll surrender one day. No, I'm just kidding.
KING: You like life as a single man too much?
WOODS: Life is good right now. But eventually when I'm ready. Right now, I'm busy with my life.
KING: Is it hard to date a lot, when you're four days here, gone here, over there, back, another city?
WOODS: It's very difficult to get to know somebody. I think, if -- for me, I think I'll find somebody through a friend of a friend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now, we pick it up now. It's kind of sad. As we mentioned earlier, Tiger's sponsors are sticking by him. We've got two more statements. From EA Sports, "our strong relationship with Tiger for more than a decade remains unchanged. We respect Tiger's privacy. We wish him a fast recovery and look forward to seeing him back on the golf course."
And from the Gillette Razor folks, "Tiger Woods has been part of the Gillette Champions Program since 2007. At this time, we are not making any changes to our existing marketing programs."
They're the only one, Rick, that might have a little hedge here "at this time."
REILLY: Yeah, they're hedging their bets, because you don't know what's coming. We've had a few dribble out, might be more.
KING: Donny, do you have any input on this, any advice?
DONNY DEUTSCH, CHAIRMAN, DEUTSCH INC.: Yes. First of all, anybody who is worried about Tiger's 100 million dollars a year should stop worrying. Let's look at the history of athletes getting into trouble: Ray Lewis, charged with murder. He didn't lose endorsements. Kobe Bryant charged with rape. They step back a little bit, the clients. But they didn't disappear.
Here's a guy that has done what half of the men in America has done. Certainly, it's not right, but it is not a crime. I'm going to take it one step further. I had a driver the other day take me to the airport. When this broke, he said, hey, look at Tiger, you know, just like a lot of the guys I know. To a guy like this, who is so kind of two-dimensional, didn't let anyone in, it makes him more human and relatable.
As long as he comes forward -- he's taken the first step. At some point, he will come forward in person and do the proper mea culpas. He's a smart guy. He seems to be a very sensitive guy. It makes him a more responsive human being. I'm going to go on the limb and say it makes him more endorsing type folk. This is less than zero, guys.
KING: Before David comment's.
DEUTSCH: Let me preface this, not necessarily for a certain kind of female product. But in this world, guys, come on, this is a non- event for him, long term. It really is.
REILLY: Whoa, first of all, ask Kobe how many endorsements he lost. He lost everything.
KING: Got them back, though.
REILLY: He got some back. You don't see him on McDonald's commercials. You don't seem him on Sprite. Ray Lewis didn't have much. Lost it all. And Kobe --
DEUTSCH: Pizza Hut came back. He's a poster guy for Madden Sports.
REILLY: I'm not saying Tiger's going to lose a bunch. I think he will lose some. But I don't think this makes him in any way more appealing. In fact, I think it makes him, as Jesper Parnevik said, the guy who set him up with his wife -- Jesper said, we thought he was a better guy than this.
DEUTSCH: I didn't say appealing. I said it makes him more relatable to the average human being. Once again, guys, I really -- this is a human being. I don't think any smart sponsors is going to say that this guy in not still a great golf player.
KING: Let me -- Donny, let me get a break and get David Cornwell's thoughts. We'll be back. Don't go away.
KING: David Cornwell, what do you make of Donnie Deutsch's comments that it sort of makes him like every man?
CORNWELL: I disagree. There are really three audiences here that Tiger has to deal with. One is the personal, his family and friends and people that are part of his personal life. And he's let some down. And they're going to side with his wife. And others are going to support him and help him get through this.
The other are his sponsors. I don't think his sponsors are issuing these statements because they don't think there's a problem with adultery. I think they're issuing these statements because there's no basis to terminate the agreement, based on adultery.
And then the third is the public and this role model status. My father was a surgeon and he once told me that it's OK if other people think you're god, but you're in trouble if you start believing it. A role model is not a super human icon. It is a person that has all the qualities and blemishes of being a human. Tiger is now going to learn that process. And his success in rebuilding his reputation is going to be able to deal with his own blemishes in a way that's authentic, sincere and bring the public, and its trust for him, back to him.
DEUTSCH: David, you're contradicting yourself. The very thing that you're saying is the very reason that it's going to make him more of a human being. The reason the advertisers are putting those statements out is because they don't have a get out clause for adultery. It's because this guy is a billion-dollar brand. And he -- CORNWELL: I didn't contradict myself. Maybe you didn't understand. I did say, in fact, that this represents how human he is.
DEUTSCH: Which makes him more appealing.
CORNWELL: But I disagree with you that they are just kind of dealing with adultery as being the functional equivalent of jay- walking.
DEUTSCH: I didn't say that. I said that this transgression makes him more appealing --
KING: Hold it. Let's let Rick get a word in. We have three guests.
REILLY: I think the reason they're not bailing on this guy is he's a killer. This guy's the greatest golfer I've ever seen. He is going to come on. He has the most iron will of any athlete I've ever covered. I've covered Jordan and Lance and Elway and everybody.
He's going to come back from this. I know how he gets. He will get determined. He will be better than ever. He spends six hours on the range now, he'll spend ten now. He'll try to prove it with his golf.
KING: But what about Donnie's reasoning? If he comes back, he wins, he's every man, he's back in the fold.
DEUTSCH: Imagine now on the 18th when he's coming back, it's even more of a heroic story. Oh, look what Tiger came back from again. Guys, this story line gets written. Once again, what he did is wrong. But in the annals of what we watch with human behavior --
REILLY: Now, but birdies don't justify womanizing. But I'm just saying he will come back and make you forget what he did to his wife and kids by winning everything. That's how it works in sports.
KING: Winning --
REILLY: Winning erases everything. That's the only thing.
KING: We'll be back with more right after this. Don't go away.
KING: No surprise that the late night comics are weighing in on what impact Tiger's transgressions may have on his billion-dollar brand. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Tiger has not spoken to reporters. He said it's a personal and private matter between him, his wife and their billion dollars, and they're going to keep it that way. But whenever an athlete gets in a mess like this, you wonder how it might affect his endorsement deals. So far, though Tiger's big sponsors, Gatorade, Nike and Gillette, are standing by him. They even held a press conference today and reiterated their support.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On behalf of Nike, we support Tiger Woods.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And on behalf of Gillette, we too fully support our client and hope to see him back on the court.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yahoo! Yeah, tiger!
So Gatorade supports Tiger, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's take a call. Ft. Myers, hello.
CALLER: Larry, great show. I would like to ask your panel if they think that the advertisers, like Nike and Gillette and Music Mix USA, will all be negatively affected by supporting Tiger.
KING: that's a good question. Will they be hurt by supporting him?
REILLY: No, it hasn't gone far enough yet. But if it gets worse, maybe a little.
KING: What do you think, David?
CORNWELL: I don't think so. Maybe some women's groups may come out against him. But I don't think there will be a substantial impact from the purchasers of the products he endorses.
KING: Donnie, that's your business, though. Do you think people will buy less Gillette razors?
DEUTSCH: No. Actually, from a commerce point, no. The CEOs will have to deal with some letters, though, from women's groups and what not, and just have thick skin about that. Any time stuff like this comes out, there will be letters that say, I'm not going to buy your product. But in reality, the marketplaces will speak and it will have no effect.
KING: Chicago, hello. Hello?
CALLER: Hi, hello. Two-part question for the panel. Why are Americans so fascinated by celebrity sex scandals? Christine Brennan criticized Tiger's statement at the start of your. But isn't Tiger correct that he's dealing with a personal, private matter?
KING: Rick, technically, what is it our business?
REILLY: I think it is because, A, he wants 100 million dollars a year in endorsements. I guess it's about 90 million dollars a year in endorsements. So we got to buy into the fact that this is a good guy. He pitches them on, hey, I'm a good family guy. He runs a school. We're supposed to believe that he's a terrific guy. And he messed up here.
KING: David, if Gillette has a commercial scheduled to run tomorrow, do they run it with Tiger shaving?
CORNWELL: Absolutely. And I disagree with the premise that because Tiger or any other athlete has unique and extraordinary athletic prowess, they give up their right to privacy. This is the media's prurient interests run amok. This is a private story that has been exploded into the public airwaves because we're fixated with scandal. And at some point, here's hoping America gets scandal fatigue, and we don't see this kind of coverage.
KING: Well said. We got a great show coming tomorrow night. Thank you all very much. Tomorrow night, jobs. There's a major topic. The guest, Tony Robins, Mitt Romney, Eric Schmidt of Google, and Magic Johnson. Jobs in America, that's the topic tomorrow night. Right now the topic is "AC 360." Here's Anderson Cooper.