Since the car accident early Friday morning involving Tiger Woods in front of his home in Florida, the facts continue to surface and no one seems to be at the response-helm for the billion dollar golfer.
There’s been talk of affairs, “Kobe special” gifts, and domestic violence. Most damage control experts–including Ken Sunshine on the Early Show this morning–agree that the response from the Woods clubhouse has been too vague, and way too slow.
We interviewed Eric Dezenhall, CEO of crisis shop Dezenhall Resources who explained that Tiger can, and should violate PR 101 by avoiding the press till he’s ready. He believes that damage control experts who flood the airwaves in such cases without knowing the subject validate the situation, creating a “meta-crisis.”
Dezenhall, author of “Damage Control: Why Everything You Know About Crisis Management Is Wrong” advises a simple tier system of priorities: 1) health, 2) family, 3) the law, and 4) endorsements.
“Despite the media and PR trade’s self-interested declarations of a fiasco, the fact is most celebrities in these situations survive these messes, just not in the first 24 hours. I suspect that there are some fundamental behind-the-scenes things taking place: Discussions with lawyers, negotiations with the police, marital arm-wrestling, calls to family and sponsors. If, for example, Tiger is all scratched up from a fight with his wife, I wouldn’t want him going before the cameras right away. Of course, the media are going to say “It’s best for you, Tiger, to do an interview…Wrong, that’s best for the media in this scenario, not Tiger!”
Dezenhall sent us the above just 20 minutes before Woods in fact, issued a statement on his web site. It does take a heavier blame-the-media tone than one would expect. Look for Woods to either parcel out a few more details at the press conference tomorrow ahead of the Chevron World Challenge in California this week, if he chooses not to skip it.