We posted late last night about the NY Post columnist who really really wanted to know if Tiger Woods still loves his wife. At what point do we start to sympathize with Woods having to deal with the constant barrage of inane questions from reporters who, frankly, have no business being credentialed at a golf press conference?
That conversation hopped skipped and jumped us across the pond to talk about the report this weekend from Polly Vernon of The Guardian who spoke with Vanessa Perroncel, the woman in the middle of John Terry’s recent sex scandal. You may remember Perroncel as the the significant other of Wayne Bridge – the former Chelsea defender who moved to Man City then refused to play for England after this scandal hit. Reportedly, when Bridge left Chelsea, the two became distant and Perroncel — who has a child with Bridge — started to spend time with Terry — who is married. They were “just friends” but it reportedly turned into much more, culminating (reportedly) with Perroncel getting pregnant and subsequently having an abortion.
The scandal was front-page news around the world for weeks. Yet according to Perroncel, it wasn’t true at all:
What was the first you knew of it?
“When my ex [Bridge] rang me up and said: ‘There’s a journalist outside my house. He says you’ve had an affair with another footballer.’ He didn’t know who. A few minutes later, he rang back: ‘It’s John.’”
Perroncel was perplexed, panicked, upset.
“I said: ‘It’s not true!’”
Which it really wasn’t?
Terry was never anything more than a friend?
Your relationship with him was never physical?
Perroncel looks directly at me. She looks cold and hard and exhausted by repeating it while wondering if anyone will ever believe her. She takes a steadying breath.
“No,” she says.
Whether or not we believe her isn’t really the point. The article is a fascinating look at tabloid media and how some not-so-famous people can get swallowed up by the horde. Vernon spoke with a PR maven who specializes in this kind of scandal and the story provides fascinating insight into whether or not people should try to capitalize on newfound fame when spun into a famous person’s scandal.
THAT SPINS US…To Joe Posnanski and Dan Shanoff. And back to Tiger Woods as well. Posnanski wrote a column wondering if this was a good or bad time in media, specifically using the framework of the Tiger Woods scandal. Shanoff expounded upon that idea and replied…it’s the BEST:
The point is that when you focus on the top — and the astonishing volume of terrific sports writing, opinion, analysis and creative expression you find there, provided you have the paths to find it — things in sports media have never been better. Ever.
What say you (and us)? Is this the golden age of media or a time when we should be concerned about the path we’re taking? Can it be both?
The short answer (listen to the show for the long answer) is: yes. It most certainly is both the best and worst times in history for media. The playing field is ostensibly leveled from a technology standpoint — and, a topic for another time perhaps, an access standpoint — but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be some boundaries between celebrities and media…or celebrities and regular citizens. Do we need to know every detail of everyone’s lives? Is there anything still worth protecting? Or are we in an age where if you don’t post it, someone else will?