Tiger Woods may not want to be defended on this issue; he certainly didn't ask to be defended. But he's going to be, in this space anyway, because Jim Brown's recent comments to HBO that Tiger's social contributions are inadequate are way off base, even inaccurate. Just because Brown perhaps isn't aware of the depth and range of Tiger's contributions, or that they differ from his own social agenda doesn't mean Tiger is lacking a social conscience -- because he isn't.
Don't get me wrong, I've admired Brown's activism my entire adult life. One of the unforgettable experiences of my life came during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, when Brown, through his determination, concern and sheer force of personality, persuaded gang members from the rival Crips and Bloods to call a truce to the violence and talk out their differences at Brown's Hollywood home.
But the battles must be fought on different grounds; surely Jim Brown knows this. Tiger has committed millions of dollars, some of the money raised and some of it donated out of his own pocket, to enriching the lives of kids who couldn't possibly find the help elsewhere.
I agree with Wilbon's assessment. Although I admire and respect Brown for his social activism, I believe his criticism of Woods is unfair because it fails to take into account that activism can take various forms. Woods, through his foundation, is making valuable contributions to the community and should be applauded for his efforts.