The Chat House With Michael Wilbon: Tiger Woods, Redskins, Wizards and more

Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnist
Monday, November 30, 2009; 1:15 PM

Welcome to another edition of The Chat House, where Post columnist Michael Wilbon was online Mon., Nov. 30 to discuss the Tiger Woods case, the Redskins, the NFL, the Wizards, the NBA season, World Wide Wilbon (which is Not Just Another Sorry, No-Account Sports Blog) the latest sports news, his columns and anything else on your mind.

A transcript follows

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____________________ Hi everyone! Michael is running a little late today, but he should be with us within the next 10-15 minutes at the latest. Thanks for bearing with us while he's working to get online. In the meantime, keep submitting your questions about Tiger, the Wizards, Redskins and college football!


Arlington, Va.: It seems Tiger is going the John Edwards route. If it is later proven Tiger did have an affair, will it change your opinion of him?

Michael Wilbon: No. Are you kidding me? Sorry to start by being fesity, but are you insane. If he had an affair? What? First, hi everybody ... hope you had a great Thanksgiving Weekend...I did. Ate a lot, walked the treadmill a lot (Ha! That's a new approach to Thanksgiving for me!), watched a lot of football, watched a surprisingly small amount of basketball ... Now, back to Tiger Woods which we might as well start with. If you care about my philosophy on these things you can check the blog entry I posted this morning on world wide wilbon...I don't care what people do or don't do in the bedrooms and don't judge people based on whatever they do or don't do in the privacy of their own homes and relationships. I can't state this strongly enough, and this has been my position forever when it comes to these kinds of matters. Don't know, don't care...Will I engage in the office gossip that floats? Yes, of course. Will I speculate on it here, in print, or on the air? No. Not a chance. Will other stuff come out about this episode? Probably. Will Tiger's career be hurt in any way by it, either financially or professionally. No. You think golfers don't have affairs? (Not that I'm saying Tiger did or didn't because I have no earthly idea). That would make you from the moon. Let me just say this: If you've followed golf for 50 years or any portion of that and you love certain golfers, chances are 99 percent more than one of your golf heroes had affairs. Trust me on this. Same would go for basketball, football, hockey, baseball, SKATING. Don't be stupidly naive.


Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C.: I've always been under the impression that you have something more than a strictly professional relationship with Tiger ... do stories like this one make it more difficult to maintain a "friendship" with athletes?

Michael Wilbon: I have had more a social relationship with Tiger than professional...until last year when I did a sit-down interview with Tiger this past summer. Before that, I'd written about Tiger, of course, for years but didn't really interact that much professionally. Look, I'm going to say what I'm going to say and I don't know whether he'll hear it or like it ... I'm not going to be super critical in this case because--and you can look up my position on this as it regards celebrities and their personal lives--I don't give a damn about domestic issues ... So, this isn't the litmus test for me...There are much more serious issues I could take somebody on for being involved in...This isn't on my radar. But in general, most guys understand you have to pop them at certain times if you're in the media. Charles Barkley is one of my dear friends and there were times in the 1990s I had to be critical of Charles. There are times that I'm not a little bit in the public eye Charles has been critical (justifiably) of me or something I've said/done. Does that make me resent him? Or him me? Not to this point, not at all actually. But you raise a very legitimate point.


Re: .I don't care what people do or don't do in the bedrooms.: Is this true just of sports figures, or of public figures too? I think, because public figures represent the people, we place a higher standard on them. Sports figures, we just appreciate their skill. However, they are role models for children.

Michael Wilbon: For me, it's everybody. I just don't care. Wasn't raised that way. "Mind your own business" was one of the philosophies drummed into my head by my parents. So was "We don't care, in this house, what the neigbors do. You take care of what you do." So, that's how I've lived my life. We don't mind our own business enough in this culture. We're always peeping in somebody else's house. I despise that, no matter who is on the other end of the speculation. I do get a perverse enjoyment when a member of the self-appointed morality police turns out to have been naughty-naughty ...THAT, I love ...


The explanation that Tiger owes us: This is what most people seem to be using as a reason for wanting to know more about what happened. The problem is Tiger is also entitled to some privacy, even as a public figure. So I see both sides. The problem is, the information provided by Tiger (mainly his wife's statements) have been all over the place, leaving more questions unanswered than answered. I think in the end Tiger will have to say more about this than he has so far, if only to end the gossiping. What do you think?

Michael Wilbon: His wife hasn't issued any statement, to my knowledge ...


Arlington, Va.: If you don't care what goes on in the privacy of peoples own homes then why comment on Michael Phelps troubles? Michael Wilbon: After Failure of Judgment, Phelps Shouldn't Get a Pass (Washington Post, Feb, 7)

Michael Wilbon: Michael Phelps troubles, smoking marijuana, were legal. Smoking dope is illegal in the United States of America, last I checked. Surely you're smart enough to see the difference. And by the way, I don't think Phelps did anything that merited a great deal of criticism ... though you have to be careful about using your image to market, which is also what I said in this morning's blog post regarding Tiger Woods and his marketing efforts.


Herndon, Va.: Mr. Mike:

Any idea where your Wildcats will be bowling? I'd like to see my Huskers "rematched" with them - would be better than the Neb-USC which is being floated for the Holiday Bowl. Even though I'm a Husker fanatic, I can't see a win against Texas, even if our defense is lights out.

Michael Wilbon: Yes, Northwestern at 8-4 is going to a post-season bowl game. I was hoping for the bowl largely because it's in Tempe, Arizona and I could attend that game. But I think the bowl is more likely, from what I hear, and that game is in Orlando. There are probably other bowl games that are interested in us and Northwestern in them. I have to check when these things will be made public. It's sometime this week, though. Looking forward to back-to-back bowl games for my school, which unlike, oh, Notre Dame and Michigan, is big deal.


Washington, D.C.: Minding own business, yes, and not engaging in mindless speculation heck yes, but it's got to mean something, right? As you note, most superstars like this have done something, but that just makes guys like Darrell Green (one of my childhood heroes) more special. It has to matter at least a little.

Michael Wilbon: If that matters to you, fine. I, who love Darrell Green, don't judge people based on speculation and gossip. So, unless there's something I object to, it doesn't matter for me. I think these things are personal judgements and choices and differ for everybody ...


Burke, Va.: Potpourri of Qs. Who do you have tonight in the Pats/Saints game, Mike? What does TK think of the job 'Chuckie' has done on MNF? Finally, have you seen 'The Blind Side' yet? It's a very entertaining flick.

Michael Wilbon: Haven't seen the "Blind Side" yet though I will. I've got the Saints, though I'm always suspect about teams playing these games at home that seem like civic crusades ... Should be such a great game. Wish I was there ...


Oddsmakers: Weis just got fired. What's the odds he gets the Redskins job?

Michael Wilbon: You can't be serious?


Washington D.C.: With respect to your distinction as to Michael Phelps, it is worth noting that both DUI (prescription meds) and domestic violence charges are possible. Many people would consider either of these far more serious than recreational pot use. Agree?

Michael Wilbon: If there are charges. And didn't Michael Phelps have a DUI, too.


Baltimore, Md.: Forget Woods for a minute ... In Vince Young, we may be seeing one of the NFL's best redemption stories in a long, long time.

Michael Wilbon: Thank you. Thank you. Wow. What a drive. 99 yards. What a performance. It reminded me of John Elway in his prime, in Cleveland during the AFC Championship. Don't know whether Vince Young will be a great QB or not. We have to see how he handles losing because even the great ones have to handle SOME losing. But what he's done the last five weeks, in going 5-0 after the team was 0-6, is amazing. And he's now one of the three best stories in the NFL, behind the two undefeateds, New Orleans and Indy ...


Fairfax, Va.: Weis isn't going to land the Redskins job, not with Al Groh available.

Michael Wilbon: Ha!


Tennis Question, Va.: Mike,

Why did it take so long to fine Serena? Do you think the $82,000 was fair?

Michael Wilbon: I think it was a very lazy fine. I'd have been more creative and ordered her to play in all those end-of-year events that get sparse attendance and have few if any stars. I'd have given her the option of a million dollar fine or playing three additional events.


Is there any chance...: ... that the Colts and Saints could meet in the Super Bowl both being undefeated? That would be unbelievable, amazing and would make for one of the most exciting Super Bowls in history! Any chance this could happen realistically?

Michael Wilbon: Yes, it could happen. I'd love to see it happen. Their schedules suggest it could happen, both of them. But I think the Patriots' loss in the Super Bowl two years ago makes it easy for teams to justify sitting everybody for a game or two and going in 14-2 and without the pressure of the undefeated season. On the other hand, if the Saints and Colts are sharing that distinction, is it lessened?


Phoenix: Shaq's tenure with the Phoenix Suns, while encouraging based on Shaq's stats, clogged up the offense and derailed any title hopes the Running Suns had. Fair or Foul?

Michael Wilbon: It seems fair, but consider this: The Suns scored 140-plus points in three straight games after the NBA All-Star break when Alvin Gentry replaced Terry Porter as head coach ... then Amare Stoudemire got hurt and it all crashed. Suppose Gentry had been coach the entire season, or suppose he had Stouemire the whole time? Just wondering.


Anonymous: Do you have any idea what the Tiger Woods franchise is worth annually? Doesn't any flirting with controversy cost the famous a lot of money, as advertisers shun controversy?.

Michael Wilbon: Remember when Michael Jordan went to Atlantic it during the middle of a Knicks-Bulls playoff series in 1992 or 1993, whenever it was. How did that hurt him? Answer: It didn't, not financially, not competitively. And that was a huge story. Hell, it happened in New York, which made it all that much larger. These things--check the record--all seem like they're the end of the world the moment they happen ... then, as we saw with A-Rod, it's quiet. Life goes on, usually not that differently than it was before.


Chicago: How bout some actual sports questions? Do you think if the Bears could take a mulligan on the Cutler trade they would, and what would you do? Is this a hiccup, or is he a true dud?

Michael Wilbon: Great question ... It's the coaching, specifcially the offensive coaches. They're just not good enough. I'm talking about Ron Turner, the offensive coordinator, for starters. He's just not imaginative enough, not creative enough. And Jerry Angelo, who once again couldn't come up with any professional receivers, should go as well, perhaps. I do not want to see Bill Cower take over as GM and head coach. I hate combining those duties under one man. It simply doesn't work. But it's on Lovie Smith that he still has Ron Turner and the worst offense in the NFL. No receivers are ever open down the field. It's all three-yard screen passes. And they're not smart enough to get Matt Forte the ball with a traditional screen pass on first down...Nothing creative, nothing inentive. I dont' want to blame only Cutler, though he's terrible. Just terrible.


Wilmington, Dela.: Am I crazy to even think that the Redskins have a better than a punchers' chance to beat the Saints on Sunday? I won't pick them, but it wouldn't totally surprise me if they do.

Michael Wilbon: A lot of people are saying this now. It's become the fashionable pick. Let's see what happens tonight.


Washington, D.C.: Please, please please, I want your take ...

Assuming Snyder is willing ... is it plausible or possible for the Redskins to land Dungy as GM?

Michael Wilbon: No. I'm thinking, I'm thinking, I'm thinking...No. Dungy's too smart to believe that Snyder would simply be an owner and not try and attend combine sessions in Indy...No, can't imagine it.


Washington, DC: What did you think about this years Thanksgiving Day games?

Michael Wilbon: Awful. Terrible. How can you match the Raiders with the Cowboys back in April and say that's a Thanksgiving Day game? It stunk. The NFL gets a pass from my brethern in the media on stuff like this. The Lions and Packers stunk, though that was at least a matchup that was about the most attractive one possible ... Only the Giants-Broncos was any good, meaning the matchup. The game wasn't any good. A whole waste of a day.


Barry Farm, Washington, D.C.: If the two teams played today, who would you take, the Bears or the Redskins? I might actually pick the Redskins in this one ...

Michael Wilbon: Oh, the Redskins, no question. The Redskins. Not close.


"Michael Phelps troubles, smoking marijuana, were legal": So are we to believe you'd give a damm if the Police investigation reveals domestic violence (i.e., a legal issue) was involved in Tiger's injuries?

Michael Wilbon: So you need to suppose something egregious happened? Why? So you can feel better because you dislike Tiger or like Phelps or whatever your agenda is? How far do you want to take the crimes you suppose?


Washington, D.C.: Sally Jenkins was clearly biased in her stumping for TCU, but the more I see that team play, the more I'm convinced they're the best team in the country. What are the Horned Frogs supposed to do? They have blown out every team they've played this year while Alabama, Florida, and Texas have been squeaking by the bottom feeders in their conferences. TCU's closest contests were a three-point win at Air Force (finished 5-3 in conference) and a four-point win at Clemson (playing for the ACC title on Saturday). TCU has continuously gotten better throughout the season culminating with six straight 35-plus point outbursts while only allowing No. 16 Utah to score more than 12.

Meanwhile, Texas had no trouble beating up on their non-con schedule of Louisianna-Monroe, Wyoming, UTEP, and Colorado but barely got by conference rivals Texas Tech, A and M, and an overrated Oklahoma team in a down year for the Big XII. Alabama had their marquee non-con win against a slightly overrated Va. Tech team on a neutral field, but against conference opponents, they almost lost to both un-ranked Tennessee and Auburn. Florida has also had their share of squeakers against un-ranked Arkansas and Tennessee, but Florida has quite possibly the worst schedule ever devised with only LSU and Alabama the only ranked opponents the Gators will play this year. Their non-con schedule was highlighted by playing one of the worst FSU teams Bobby Bowden has assembled while beating up on the likes of Florida International, Troy, and Charleston Southern.

How in the world can the college football world give its national championship to any team that hasn't beaten TCU (or Cincy or Boise State for that matter)? BCS officials tell non-BCS teams that they need to beat quality teams to crack the title game, which is exactly what TCU did this year by beating two ACC teams and a decent SMU team. Can the BCS system be any more flawed?

Michael Wilbon: This is the perfect way to end today's chat, with a strong comment on the state of college football. Thanks for that. Gotta run and prepare for PTI. Talk to you guys next week. Thanks for chatting today ... MW


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