Tigers Woods has reached a plea deal after being charged with reckless driving, according to an AP report.
The agreement comes after Woods was arrested for driving under the influence and reckless driving back in May, and will keep him out of jail as long as he complies with Florida’s program for first-time DUI offenders.
Woods attributed his poor driving not to alcohol, but rather an ‘unexpected reaction to prescribed medications‘ he was taking to recover from back surgery.
On Wednesday when his hearing was scheduled, Woods did not have to appear in court once the agreement had been reached, instead entering a plea of “not guilty” on the charge of driving under the influence through his attorney. His hearing for the reckless driving charge will be heard on October 25, at which Woods is expected to appear, plead guilty, and begin the 12-month diversion program.
Michael McCann of Golf.com noted in a story that by taking the plea deal and avoiding the spotlight, Woods saved himself a lot of potential trouble with media coverage.
By not appearing before cameras on Wednesday, Woods avoided the media spectacle of entering a courthouse and attending a legal proceeding as a defendant. That kind of imagery almost never benefits a person. Fairly or not, it suggests that a person has broken the law, even if he or she is ultimately found not guilty.
By keeping a low profile, Woods is also more likely to protect his endorsement deals — which is surely a sensitive topic for him. Woods lost many millions of dollars in anticipated endorsement earnings following media coverage of his 2009-10 marital infidelity scandal. A number of companies dropped Woods pursuant to his endorsement deals’ “morals clauses,” which allow an endorsed company to drop an athlete if the athlete’s personal conduct causes serious controversy.
Thus, rather than appearing in court on Wednesday and taking up another news cycle, Woods instead deferred to a later date when the sports world will be a bit more occupied with other stories and he will be starting with his diversion program right after.
Woods has not participated in competitive golf since withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February.
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