theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Z_CNHI News Service

May 13, 2014

Public apologies the newest addition to the playbook

“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”

― Benjamin Franklin

I’ve wondered what it must be like to be a priest and listen to people reveal their sins and ask for forgiveness. Confession, they say, is good for the heart.

In the last week or so it seems as if every press conference or interview contains someone's apology. Athletes and those who own teams have tripped over themselves making foolish remarks, then trying to clean them up with clumsy excuses or insincere explanations.

Donald Sterling, billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, used his own words to disgrace himself and now hopes the public will excuse his racist comments, captured on tape, as a “terrible mistake.”

Sterling's hope is that an 80-year-old man who spent much of his adult life running a professional basketball team is entitled to be forgiven for a momentary lapse. Does anyone seriously believe it was his first mistake? If it was, embarrassing the NBA, his team, players and the family's reputation was a whopper.

Perhaps Sterling should take comfort in knowing that he has plenty of company.

Comments by two athletes in response to the St. Louis Rams’ selection of Missouri lineman Michael Sam in the seventh round of the NFL draft created a firestorm.

Fans across the country were watching to see which team, if any, would select Sam, the first openly gay player expected to be drafted.

The Miami Dolphins' Don Jones, a defensive back, tweeted the word “horrible” after Sam was taken with the 249th pick of the draft and shown kissing his boyfriend on ESPN.

Given all the problems the Dolphins struggled with last season when a bullying scandal became front-page news, the last thing anyone would have expected was a Miami player embroiled in another controversial mess. The Dolphins responded quickly, fining Jones and suspending him from team activities. Miami Coach Joe Philbin said Jones’ remarks were inappropriate and unacceptable.

Jones attempted to retrieve his comments, but the damage was done. “I take full responsibility for them and I regret that these tweets took away from his draft moment,” he said in a statement released by the Dolphins.

Former Mississippi basketball standout Marshall Henderson - another collegian who lived and died with his antics - stirred it up with a tweet about Sam, as well. He criticized ESPN for televising Sam celebrating his draft selection.

If nothing else, give Henderson credit for offering a surprising explanation about why he opted to comment: Henderson said he did so at the request of a gay friend who was struggling with whether to tell his family about his sexual orientation. Perhaps the feedback from the tweet, they thought, would gauge public reaction.

Believe what you will, but it shouldn’t have been difficult to predict the response.

Social media has changed the world in so many ways. Comments that would never have been considered for publication before the Internet now go flying at warp speed.

Just because a person can make a comment doesn’t mean he should. There are consequences - a fact some people forget until too late.

Henderson told ESPN he expected to initiate discussion, just not as strong a response as his comment received. “I saw their reactions and thought we’ve got something brewing here,” he said. “I knew I was sticking my neck out there doing it, but I wanted to see how people reacted.” The former Ole Miss star said the episode left his friend scared.

People have said crazy things for a long time, so there’s no reason to think there’s been a recent outbreak of stupidity. What’s new is the simplicity of communicating to a large audience.

A quote variously attributed to Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain and others notes the importance of selecting words judiciously:  “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”

Now that’s something worth tweeting.

Tom Lindley is a CNHI sports columnist. Reach him at tlindley@cnhi.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
  • HallofFameBraves.jpg Hall of Fame adds businesslike Braves, Frank Thomas, managers La Russa and Torre

    Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, and their manager, Bobby Cox, dominated much of baseball during the 1990s. This weekend they went into the Hall of Fame together.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brother sues W.Va. senator over business loan

    U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin's brother claims he's owed $1.7 million that he loaned to keep a family carpet out of bankruptcy in the 1980s.

    July 25, 2014

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Inequality crisis shot with factual problems, hypocrisy

    President Obama, various media and political liberals say inequality, of all things, is the defining issue of our times. Yet this message is delivered by multimillionaires and a president who jets from tee time to stump speech on the taxpayer's dime.
     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Police Brutality screen shot. Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

AP Video
Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground
Stocks
Poll

Are you pleased that Oklahoma has repealed Common Core standards for public school students?

Yes
No
     View Results