In the wake of Tiger Woods’ early Monday morning arrest for driving under the influence, no shortage of opinions have been floating in the media sphere. Now, Charles Barkley is adding his voice to the chorus.
Barkley, a friend of Tiger Woods, had some interesting remarks on the situation. Well, not so much the situation, but rather, another distinguished sports figure’s take. Barkley took issue with Jack Nicklaus’ remarks on the Tiger Woods’ debacle.
For context, here’s what Nicklaus said.
“I feel bad for Tiger. Tiger’s a friend. He’s been great for the game of golf. He needs our help. I wish him well…I’m a fan of Tiger’s. I’m a friend of Tiger’s. And I feel bad for him, I think that he’s struggling. And I wish him well. I hope he gets out of it and I hope he plays golf again. He needs a lot of support from a lot of people…And I’ll be one of them.”
The Round Mound of Rebound didn’t like Nicklaus’ take, and he told Bleacher Report as much.
“Even Jack Nicklaus, somebody I really respect, talking about, ‘Tiger really needs help.’ Well, he don’t know that. We don’t know if Tiger has a drug problem.”
Now, it’s not exactly crystal clear that Nicklaus was suggesting Tiger is “struggling” with drugs or just struggling more generally.
Barkley and Woods were once relatively close friends. However, as Barkley has attested to on a couple of occasions, the pair grew apart following Woods’ 2009 sex scandal.
What do we make of this? As mentioned, it’s not really fair to say Nicklaus was calling Woods a drug addict or some such. It’s also not eminently clear Woods is struggling in general…perhaps he’s happily recovering from back surgery and enjoying his time out of the spotlight. Unlikely, but possible.
So while Barkley is somewhat off base with respect to Jack, he’s right more generally with regard to those suggesting Woods is abusing painkillers. We won’t know anything about the contents of Woods’ system until the results of his post-arrest urine test. Even given an assumption about the addictive nature of Vicodin and similar substances, it’s best to refrain on making any judgment until more information becomes available.
Of course, even in that case, it’s possible Woods had an adverse reaction to a substance or combination of substances, and then, in some altered state, thought he missed a dose and took more. While there’s no doubt Woods shouldn’t have been driving in the condition he was in, it’s inappropriate to talk with certainty about much beyond that fact, as Sir Charles suggested.