In Tiger Woods’ case, it’s 3am.
I used to listen to Jim Rome a lot. And one of the things he’d always say was, “Nothing good ever happens at 2am”. As you know, Tiger Woods was arrested yesterday in Florida and charged with DUI. There were initial reports that he was “arrogant” when it happened. And all kinds of speculation about whether or not he’d been drinking. Tiger released a statement afterwards about the situation:
"I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions. I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.
I would like to apologize with all my heart to my family, friends and the fans. I expect more from myself too. I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.
I fully cooperated with law enforcement, and I would like to personally thank the representatives of the Jupiter Police Department and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office for their professionalism."
Today the police released the arrest report and the report confirms that Tiger “blew zeroes” on the breathalyser which corroborates his claim that alcohol was not involved. The report also notes that Tiger was “cooperative” but also “confused”. And that he was slurring his words. And he didn’t seem to know where he was. Also, he was asleep at the time, his car running in the right lane, when the cops approached. Tiger couldn’t walk on his own and he couldn’t stand on one leg. So he was definitely impaired. It doesn’t matter whether or not he was drunk. But, actually, it does.
Tiger insisted on clarifying that alcohol was not a factor. But he did reveal that he’s been taking “prescribed medications”. Not sure if you’ve heard but there’s an opioid crisis happening right now and Canadians? We’re dealing with it too. It’s not just in the United States. People are being overprescribed. Entire towns are being wiped out. Prescription drugs and opioids then are just as dangerous as alcohol. But, as you can tell from Tiger’s statement, he’s making a distinction. And he’s not the only one. The problem with this kind of distinction is that the people who make it are often not able to see that there’s a problem.
Tiger Woods is an elite athlete. But in this case he could be like so many ordinary people who become addicts because of pain. It’s a common story: back pain leads to medication leads to over-reliance on medication and then dependency. John Oliver did a story about it not too long ago. When the money runs out for the prescriptions, they often turn to street drugs. I’m not saying this has happened to Tiger Woods, certainly not the street drugs part. But, you know, he was found asleep in his car on the side of the road at 3am after taking prescription medication. Not unlike those parents who make the news for passing out with their kids in the car. And he’s had chronic back and knee and neck injuries for years. Which means he’s been in pain for years. Add to that his fame, his influence, which means, like so many celebrities, he doesn’t often hear the word No. If Tiger Woods needs help, who’s going to tell him?
Earlier this month, HBO aired a documentary called Warning: This Drug May Kill You about the opioid crisis. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend it. The Atlantic did a good piece about it a few weeks ago. Maybe someone should pass it on to Tiger Woods?