Things got heated in my local Irish bar last night. It came down to a question of who is the bigger cheat, Tiger Woods or handball thief Thierry Henry, who are coincidentally both world spokesmen for Gillette.
It is a close shave over who is worse, and opinion was sharply divided. The women present unanimously called it for Woods. Cheating on his pregnant wife, a bimbo in every borough where he traveled, a lying, no good lower-than-a-snake's-belly imposter who is as dense as the three wood he hits when it comes to thinking he could get away with it all.
Henry - pouf, a soccer player who bent the rules, it did not reflect on him as a man. Hundreds of other players in the same situation have done just the same thing. So Ireland were knocked out of the World Cup -- so what -- their star player Robbie Keane had handled the ball earlier and had just been caught.
No, no, said the males. Thierry Henry - he interfered with the beautiful game, with the children who dream of becoming great soccer players, with the very underpinning of fair play and how the game should be played. He has done immense damage to the image of the beautiful game, damage that will far outlast Tiger's damage to golf.
Tiger? He is just doing what any powerful man would do in his position if he had as many temptations. Alpha men like him were not meant for monogamy, look at Bill Clinton or Wilt Chamberlain, who claimed he slept with 1,000 women.
Me, I scratched my head for a while before I came down on the side of believing that Henry is the bigger cheat.
Yes, Tiger was weak and horrible, but the business is ultimately between him and his wife. How many women he slept with is no concern of ours -- he should have told the media to feck off and leave him alone and left it at that.
But Henry destroyed an entire philosophy, a belief set. He was always seen as one of the game's greatest players, but more than that, a champion of soccer and a genius at how it is played.
Now he has feet of clay and children the world over will learn never to trust again. Children will now believe they can cheat and get away with it in big-time sport.
It is as if Tiger was caught moving his ball from the rough in the last round of the Masters . No doubt, Henry has destroyed our faith in fair play, while Tiger has just proved once again that men often think with their putter.