Undskyldning efter sexskandale

Tiger Woods

  • År: 2010
  • Sted: Florida, USA

Analyseret af
Retorikstuderende ved Københavns Universitet

“I want to say to each of you, simply, and directly, I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior I engaged in.”

Hvorfor er denne tale interessant?

Tiger Woods’ tale er et godt eksempel på undskyldningsretorik. Woods leverer det, der kan kategoriseres som en moralsk undskyldning, fordi han påtager sig skylden og direkte undskylder for sine handlinger. Det er derfor ikke en apologi, fordi han ikke forsøger at benægte eller forsvare sig. Samtidig er talen interessant, fordi det både er en privat undskyldning til hans kone og familie, men samtidig også en undskyldning til offentligheden.

Den retoriske situation

Talen blev holdt på en pressekonference i PGA’s (Professionel Golf Association) hovedkvarter i Ponte Vedra Beach i Florida. Talen er en offentlig undskyldning, som Tiger Woods holder for at undskylde for sin utroskab, som kom i offentlighedens søgelys i november måned. Siden den offentliggørelse fulgte en masse skandaler, da Woods blandt andet kørte galt og blev kædet sammen med utallige elskerinder.

Formålet med talen er derfor først og fremmest at undskylde både til Woods’ kone og familie men også til alle de fans, som han har skuffet.


To everyone involved in my foundation, including my staff, board of directors, sponsors, and most importantly, the young students we reach, our work is more important than ever. Thirteen years ago, my dad and I envisioned helping young people achieve their dreams through education. This work remains unchanged and will continue to grow.From the Learning Center students in Southern California, to the Earl Woods Scholars in Washington, D.C., millions of kids have changed their lives, and I am dedicated to making sure that continues.

But, still, I know I have severely disappointed all of you. I have made you question who I am and how I have done the things I did. I am embarrassed that I have put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry. I have a lot to atone for.

But there is one issue I really want to discuss. Some people have speculated that Elin somehow hurt or attacked me on Thanksgiving night. It angers me that people would fabricate a story like that. She never hit me that night or any other night. There has never been an episode of domestic violence in our marriage. Ever.

Elin has shown enormous grace and poise throughout this ordeal. Elin deserves praise, not blame. The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable. And I am the only person to blame. I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in.

I knew my actions were wrong. But I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have far -- didn't have to go far to find them.

I was wrong. I was foolish. I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. I brought this shame on myself. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation, and kids all around the world who admired me.

I've had a lot of time to think about what I have done. My failures have made me look at myself in a way I never wanted to before. It is now up to me to make amends. And that starts by never repeating the mistakes I have made. It is up to me to start living a life of integrity.

I once heard -- and I believe it is true -- it's not what you achieve in life that matters, it is what you overcome. Achievements on the golf course are only part of setting an example. Character and decency are what really count. Parents used to point to me as a role model for their kids. I owe all of those families a special apology. I want to say to them that I am truly sorry.

It is hard to admit that I need help. But I do. For 45 days, from the end of December to early February, I was in inpatient therapy, receiving guidance for the issues I'm facing. I have a long way to go. But I've taken my first steps in the right direction.

As I proceed, I understand people have questions. I understand the press wants me to -- to ask me for the details of the times I was unfaithful. I understand people want to know whether Elin and I will remain together. Please know that as far as I'm concerned, every one of these questions and answers is a matter between Elin and me. These are issues between a husband and a wife.

Some people have made up things that never happened. They said I used performance-enhancing drugs. This is completely and utterly false.

Some have written things about my family. Despite the damage I have done, I still believe it is right to shield my family from the public spotlight. They did not do these things. I did. I have always tried to maintain a private space for my wife and children. They have been kept separate from my sponsors, my commercial endorsements, when my children were born, we only released photographs so they ... so that the paparazzi could not chase them.

However, my behavior doesn't make it right for the media to follow my 2½-year-old daughter to school and report the school's location. They staked out my wife and pursued my mom. Whatever my wrongdoings, for the sake of my family, please leave my wife and kids alone.

I recognize I have brought this on myself. And I know above all I am the one who needs to change. I owe it to my family to become a better person. I owe it to those closest to me to become a better man. That is where my focus will be. I have a lot of work to do. And I intend to dedicate myself to doing it.

Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age. People probably don't realize it, but I was raised a Buddhist, and I actively practiced my faith from childhood until I drifted away from it in recent years. Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught.

As I move forward, I will continue to receive help because I have learned that is how people really do change. Starting tomorrow, I will leave for more treatment and more therapy.
I would like to thank my friends at Accenture and the players in the field this week for understanding why I am making this -- these remarks today. In therapy, I have learned that looking at -- the importance of looking at my spiritual life and keeping in balance with my professional life. I need to regain my balance and be centered so I can save the things that are most important to me: my marriage and my children.

That also means relying on others for help. I have learned to seek support from my peers in therapy, and I hope someday to return that support to others who are seeking help.
I do plan to return to golf one day. I just don't know when that day will be. I don't rule out that it will be this year. When I do return, I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game.
In recent weeks, I have received many thousands of e-mails, letters and phone calls from people expressing good wishes. To everyone who has reached out to me and my family, thank you. Your encouragement means the world to Elin and me. I want to thank the PGA Tour, Commissioner [Tim] Finchem and the players for their patience and understanding while I work on my private life. I look forward to seeing my fellow players on the course.

Finally, there are many people in this room and there are many people at home who believed in me. Today, I want to ask for your help. I ask you to find room in your hearts to one day believe in me again. Thank you.

Det siger retorikerne

Denne type undskyldning var velvalgt i situationen, da beviserne mod ham var for overvældende til at benægte, og på den baggrund var hans bedste mulighed at vise sin kone og offentligheden, at han angrede. Talen indeholder de tre stadier for en vellykket moralsk undskyldning, men det betyder ikke nødvendigvis, at Woods blev tilgivet. Han og hustruen Elin Nordegren, som han blev gift med i oktober 2004, blev skilt nogle måneder senere, og skandalen skadede også hans image en hel del.

Samtidig viser talen den store forskel på USA og Danmark. I Danmark er utroskab en privat sag, som ikke påvirker ens karriere på samme måde, som den gør i USA. Det kan godt ende på forsiden af sladderbladene, men der vil ikke (eller sjældent) være behov for en offentlig undskyldning som her.

  1. Woods lægger sig fladt ned og tager skylden for sine handlinger – der er derfor tale om undskyldningsretorik og ikke det, vi betegner apologi. Han forsvarer sig ikke, men undskylder blot for sine handlinger, som han angrer og godt selv kan se det forkerte i. Dette er første stadie i en vellykket moralsk undskyldning – at påtage sig skylden.
  2. Her ses tredje stadie i en vellykket moralsk undskyldning. Woods anerkender, at det er rimeligt, at hustruen Elin Nordegren er vred og skuffet, og at det vil tage lang tid at rette op på skaden, samt at det er hans arbejde at gøre det.
  3. Undskyldningen er bredt rettet mod både venner, familie og fans.
  4. Her ses et forsøg på at styrke etos ved at gøre opmærksom på det velgørenhedsarbejde, han beskæftiger sig med.
  5. Igen gør han det klart, at skylden er hans, og at offentligheden derfor ikke skal bebrejde Elin Nordegren. Det betragtes som andet stadie i en moralsk undskyldning – han anerkender, at hans offer (Elin) er uskyldig i hændelsen.
  6. Han signalerer, at han er blevet klogere – skandalen har gjort ham til et bedre menneske, og nu indser han, hvad der er vigtigt at fokusere på.
  7. Woods viser, at han gerne vil ændre sig, og at han er klar til at arbejde for det. En tydelig patos-appel, som forsøger at ramme publikums følelser.
  8. Her viser han omsorg for sin familie. Medierne må gå efter ham, men bør lade hans uskyldige familie være i fred.
  9. Han viser her, at formålet med talen også er at forsøge at reparere hans sociale status, men viser igen også, at talen både er en privat og en offentlig undskyldning.

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