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"The Man. Amen." by Charlie Pierce is now finally on-line

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Double Down, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    We've had some discussions about this piece in the past, and since it's probably one of the best sports profiles ever written, I thought it was appropriate to post it here when I found a link to it while reading Esquire.com today.

    (I'm assuming GQ's rights to the story finally expired, or Esquire just saw fit to buy second-rights.)


    For any of you youngins out there, you should know this already, and you should have a copy of this story on your bookshelf, but in case you don't, here is the back story...

    In 1997, Charlie Pierce was asked by GQ to write about a young golf phenom named Tiger Woods, and after negotiating for quite some time about what kind of access Pierce would have, IMG agreed that Pierce could interview Woods in a limo and watch him an an hour-long photo shoot for the magazine. Tiger, like 21-year-old kids sometimes do, made some kinda lame jokes about lesbians and black guys have big dicks, said "Hey that's off the record!" after the fact, and Pierce included the anecdotes as part of a much larger story that poked fun at the whole myth-making of Tiger. After the story ran, Nike and IMG execs completely lost all perspective and totally flipped. Earl Woods went on Charlie Rose and fretted that the story might destroy Tiger's career, and Tiger decided to shift into corporate shill mode from that point forward.

    Tiger's people have tried to spin it for years by saying the whole thing was to be "off the record" which is total bullshit, considering:

    1. Off the record is a two-way negotiation that both a source and a reporter agree to beforehand, not something someone shouts after the fact.

    2. The entire conversation took place in the limo ride and photo shoot that were specifically negotiated by GQ prior to Tiger and Pierce meeting up.

    The story gets talked about a lot here, mostly because it's loved so much (I've used it in a class before, and Moddy was looking for it earlier this year for the same reason) and occasionally a few people seem be confused by the whole affair, which always drives me bonkers. If you are of the opinion that Pierce "ruined Tiger for all of us" and this makes you sad (something I've seen written here and heard elsewhere) then I cannot, for the life of me, understand why you went into journalism. I don't say this often, but YOU DO NOT GET IT. It's not a majority opinion, but it is one I've heard often enough to be dismayed. I've also seen a few pieces -- one from TIME Magazine in particular comes to mind -- that simply flat-out repeated the lie that Pierce used "off-the-record comments" in his story, and that's why Tiger plays it close to the vest now. So if you ever find yourself trying to cull together a larger Woods profile at a major, please don't repeat that falsehood.

    This month's Esquire also has a feature where four writers (Jones, Pierce, Junod and Chiarella) offer their very different takes on Woods, and what he represents, but unfortunately, it is not available on-line.
  2. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    Thanks for the link DD. I'd never read that story. God, what a story.
  3. Ch.B

    Ch.B New Member

    Funny, I just went looking for that story online three days ago, as I was trying to remember how Pierce handled that scene, and was pleasantly surprised to find it at Esquire.

    Here's how he did it:

    Tiger looked at me and said, "Hey, you can't write this."
    "Too late," I told him, and I was dead serious, but everybody laughed because everybody knows there's no place in the gospel of Tiger for these sorts of jokes.
  4. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    I'd be interested in knowing how Esquire got the rights to that. Especially since GQ doesn't have it online.
  5. clintrichardson

    clintrichardson Active Member

    and Tiger Woods never gave anyone access again
  6. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    A tremendous story. As for Tiger clamping down on access, that was inevitable at some point.
  7. I don't understand the lede. Someone smart explain it to me.
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