The connections are incredible. Both Derek Jeter and Tiger Woods are mixed blooded. Each has conquered their professions before the age of 40. Yet what makes one so different from the other when it comes to personal responsibility?
Barbara Walters interview reveals Jeter and Woods faced more than pressure
It's unfortunate that most of the news surrounding these two sports icons centers on their sex lives. Woods already got hammered for his many indiscretions during his failed marriage, while Jeter recently revealed his tendency to give one-night flings autographed memorabilia as a token of thanks. Such revelations don't make them horrible men. It does make them human. Derek Jeter talked about that in an interview with news legend Barbara Walters. The New York Yankees captain talked candidly about life before his stardom, when he and his family had to deal with racism. Jeter after all is the son of a black father and white mother. Racial tension followed him everywhere and it took his trademark nerve and determination to not judge people but learn from them. Tiger Woods faced a similar problem as the son of a black man and oriental mother. What brings these men together is of course their iconic accomplishments, but also their striving to bust down lingering racial barriers across major world sports.
Minka Kelly and Elin Nordegren chose different men with similar backgrounds
Where the similarities end between the two rests on their personal lives. Jeter has never gotten married. He never passed himself off as the model husband. His girlfriend, TV star Minka Kelly, has grown used to life as the lover of a man beloved by millions of New York Yankees fans and sports fans in general. He freely admitted his nomadic love life with the memorabilia gifts. As quiet as Derek Jeter is, he never sold anybody a bill of goods that wasn't real. Tiger Woods can't say the same. For years he passed himself off as a happily married man with ex-wife Elin Nordegren. One car accident later and the most recognized face in professional golf got revealed as a multiple adulterer. It took two years for Woods to recover personally and professionally after that. To say nothing of he'll ever regain the trust and respect of his fans. Regardless, his biggest tabloid headline these days is becoming honorary captain for Stanford at the upcoming Fiesta Bowl.
Look past the PGA accolades and New York Yankees championships
Sports fanatics can say what they like. Jeter and Woods have put up with more scrutiny and pressure than most other athletes combined. Whether its racial tensions or a fluid love life, no one should judge these men based on what sport they play. It's not about how many majors Tiger will retire with, or if Jeter can win one more World Series. Perhaps Barbara Walters revealed better advice. Don't judge them at all. Learn from their mistakes, and their triumphs.