Tiger Woods' Image Tainted By Crash?

Tiger Woods is the highest-paid athlete of all-time. But has he put his endorsements on the line by issuing only a written statement about his car crash?

CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano said the only statement released from Tiger Woods about Friday's car crash has been on his Web site, but his refusal to speak openly has only fueled further speculation about what really happened.

Tiger: "I'm Human and I'm Not Perfect"
Photos: Tiger Woods

Ken Sunshine, a public relations specialist, said silence in this case is a "big mistake."

"Sponsors are probably nervous," he said. "At the very least, they can't be happy with all this speculation."

And there's much at stake for his career, Solorzano added, citing Forbes estimates that his career earnings from endorsements, appearance fees, and his golf course design business, have pushed Woods over the $1 billion mark.

Sunshine said on "The Early Show" the situation surrounding Woods is a "perfect storm."

"(Woods') people mishandled it," Sunshine said. "Mr. Perfect is never Mr. Perfect, and they're not used to this kind of thing, and usually, they clamped up on everything with Tiger forever. They don't make him accessible. They don't have him talk."

Sunshine said it wasn't a good decision to "stonewall" the police.

"It looks like they're protecting something," he said. "Talk to the cops. Legally they may not have to, but talk to the cops."

He added Woods' timing wasn't the best, either, particularly when releasing a statement days after the crash.

"The whole goal in dealing with these things is to try to make them go away," he said. "...You have got to act right away."

But is Woods less marketable now?

Sunshine said "possibly."

"Some of these straight-arrow advertisers may be nervous at the very least, but if they handle it right, it could help him," he said. "You know, humanizing somebody isn't the worst thing. Nobody's perfect, but they did a bad job for 72 hours in not dealing with it."

Woods, Sunshine said, is probably being told by lawyers and agents not to talk.

"They don't know anything about this," he said, referring to Woods' handlers. "They also don't know anything about the digital age of the news business. A sleepy Thanksgiving weekend, we often tried to bury stories in the old days. There ain't no such thing as sleepy anymore."
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