Tiger Woods Apology for Serial Adultery

With the many, many cats now out of the bag, Tiger takes his third swing at an apology for his multiple infidelities, with a statement on his website:

I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity
has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want
to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask
forgiveness. It may not be possible to repair the damage I’ve done, but
I want to do my best to try.

I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good
people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow
competitors, for their understanding. What’s most important now is that
my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for
personal healing.

After much soul searching, I have decided to take an indefinite
break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a
better husband, father, and person.

Again, I ask for privacy for my family and I am especially
grateful for all those who have offered compassion and concern during
this difficult period.

AI is a little rusty, but let’s take a crack at it. Tiger admits his wrongdoing (without going into the lurid details that we can all find elsewhere) and asks forgiveness. So those are points in his favor, but this comes off weak nonetheless. For one thing, it is a statement on a website. Tiger himself has disappeared from public view since his cheating ways came to light. This apology won’t quiet the storm. He will probably have to appear and speak the words in person for an apology to take.

So, at least, say William C. Rhoden at the NY Times and John “Effective Apology” Kador.

A few random thoughts:

  • Who does he really owe an apology to? His wife and family. Presumably that happened in private and is none of our business.
  • Why is he apologizing to the world at large? I didn’t care much about Tiger before this, and don’t care much about him now, so he doesn’t owe — or probably you — an apology. But it seems to have become a given that if you’re a celebrity of any stripe, and you screw up, you owe the world an apology.
  • Ok, there are a few sets beyond his family that he owes an apology.  Tiger mentions them. Business partners, his foundation, the PGA Tour, and others who will be financially harmed by his tarnished image. By damaging the “Tiger Woods” brand he has done actual harm to the interests of people beyond himself. Fair enough.
  • Prediction: We’ll be hearing another apology from Tiger before this story ends.

Belichick Apology for New England Patriots Spy Plot

NFL football brings sports fans a weekly dose of action, excitement, drama and athleticism. But rarely is intrigue part of the mix.  As any football fan knows, team routinely scout their upcoming opponents. Coaches and players study game films to identify weaknesses in the opposition’s defense and to help plan their own defense against the opponent’s best players and plays. All perfectly within the rules. All part of the game.

An example of something not allowed would be breaking into the other team’s offices and stealing their playbook. Hacking their computers. Tapping their phones. Bribing the janitor. Kidnapping an assistant coach and waterboarding him until he talks. Basically, anything the CIA or NSA can do is off limits to the NFL.

That includes taping the other team’s coaches on the sideline during a game as they signal plays to the team on the field. Not cool. If you can “read” the opposing lineup and guess what play they’re about to run, that’s good football instinct. If you intercept their signs … that’s cheating.

And that is what the New England Patriots are accused of doing to the New York Jets.

NFL security confiscated a video camera and its tape from a New
England Patriots employee on the team’s sideline during Sunday’s game
against the Jets in a suspected spying incident, sources said.

The camera and its tape were placed in a sealed box and forwarded to the league office for investigation, the sources said. 
  The Patriots’ cameraman was suspected of aiming his camera at the Jets’
defensive coaches who were sending signals to their unit on the field,
the sources said. The league also is investigating some radio frequency
issues that occurred during the game.

Summoned to League offices to explain himself, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had little to say to reporters afterward. But he later issued this kinda-sorta apology statement posted on the Patriots website:

“Earlier this week, I spoke with Commissioner Goodell about a
videotaping procedure during last Sunday’s game and my interpretation
of the rules. At this point, we have not been notified of the league’s
ruling. Although it remains a league matter, I want to apologize to
everyone who has been affected, most of all ownership, staff and
players. Following the league’s decision, I will have further comment.”

(Here is another cite, because I doubt the Pats will keep this on their site any longer than necessary: New York Times)

Boy, these NFL types are real mush-mouths, aren’t they? This is more of a pre-apology. It isn’t even clear what Belichick is apologizing for. For cheating by taping the other team’s sidelines? For getting caught? For embarrassing the Patriots organization and fans? All of the above?

See, an apology basic is to state clearly what it is you are apologizing for. When you don’t do that, it calls your sincerity into question. This isn’t an apology. It is a placeholder statement until the NFL deals out its punishment, at which time Belichick will issue his real apology. Perhaps several.

Like Michael Vick, Belichick doesn’t want to preemptively admit guilt by apologizing now. He wants to see what the NFL head office has on him first. Maybe he can beat the rap! Then no apology necessary! Otherwise, he’s going to drag this out and wait until his guilt is proved before admitting what he already knows he did. Because, hey, if they can’t prove it, it never happened!

Kids … do not take any of these NFL types as your role model for how to apologize. Or when.

APOLOGY UPDATE: Michael Vick Apology Auction

Remember the Michael Vick apology for the whole dogfighting mess? Well, it seems that when Michael left the podium after delivering his apology, he left his notes behind. Or, at least notes someone prepared for him. On hotel stationery, no less.

The Humane Society of the United States is now conducting an ebay auction of Vick’s purported notes, with  proceeds to go towards eliminating dogfighting and other forms of animal cruelty. From the auction page:

sheet of paper was discarded at the podium after Michael Vick’s apology
on August 28th, 2007 at the Omni Hotel in Richmond. Found by an HSUS
employee, it appears to be Vick’s own talking points from his first
public statement after his guilty plea for crimes related to

Ironically, Vick never got to the last three words, “dogs have suffered”, which had clearly been added as an afterthought.

piece of memorabilia culminates the nation’s most notorious celebrity
cruelty case. It is a symbol of the downfall of a superstar’s career
but also of the historical event that brought light to the cruel and
illegal business of dogfighting in America.

On his own blog, Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle explaining how HSUS came to possess the notes:

With dozens of reporters jammed into the press room at the Omni
Hotel in Richmond, it was The HSUS’s own Chad Sisneros, head of our
Video Services section, who in looking to retrieve his microphone saw
the abandoned scrap of paper and picked it up. 

He could hardly believe the irony, once he saw what it was. Nor could I.

Now we are in possession of this little piece of memorabilia in perhaps the nation’s most notorious celebrity cruelty case. 

The paper had a series of bullet points, numbered, from #1 to #6.
Apologize, Forgiveness, Full Responsibility, Mistakes, Young kids,

Pacelle goes on to note what that there was a 7th talking point scrawled at the end of the list, an apparent afterthought, that Vick did not mention: “Dogs have suffered.”

As it was, a man who made a living by methodically marching down the
field, one play at a time, didn’t get far enough down the page to
express contrition on the central question raised by his conduct. He
quick kicked, and got out of that hotel room–revealing that he still
may not get what was so wrong with his behavior. The biggest apology of
all was left unspoken–to the dogs who suffered and who died so horribly
at his hand.

As of today, bidding on the notes has reached $10,100. Proceeds will go to the Humane Society’s Animal Cruelty Response and Reward Fund.  The auction ends September 14.

Your chance to help animals and own a sordid scrap of apology history.

Stop the Presses

I mentioned previously the “Stop the Presses” blog run by a firm called Levick Strategic Communications, who are in the business of … well, strategic communications. Which includes apology advice, when needed. I added the blog to my feed as a useful resource, because they tend to comment on high profile apologies. Have a look if you want a different take than mine for some incomprehensible reason.

Anyhow, a recent entry at Stop the Presses faults Michael Vick for apologizing too late … and soon-to-be former U.S. Senator Larry Craig for apologizing too soon:

On the ‘waited too long’ end of the spectrum we have pro football
player Michael Vick-nearly three months elapsed from the time that he
was accused of illegal dog fighting until the time he actually issued an apology.
And when he finally did apologize-virtually everyone saw it as too
little too late. While he can recover, it scores low on the courage and
integrity scale.

And on the ‘apologized too soon’ end of the spectrum we have Senator
Larry Craig, who was in such a hurry to issue his apology that he
apparently bypassed legal and crisis communications counsel, his chief
of staff, and good sense in general, and rather than just apologize, he
pled guilty. (‘A Tale of Two Apologies,’ Stop the Presses)

Of course, the moral of the story as they tell it is … hire a good strategic communications firm before you get in trouble. Wow! Didn’t see that coming!

APOLOGY UPDATE: Another Take on Michael Vick Apology

Michael Ventre offers another take on Michael Vick’s apology for his involvement in illegal dogfighting in commentary at MSNBC.com, feeling that Vick glossed over the main point:

Vick’s brief apology Monday wasn’t scripted, but it was coached. Vick
stood at a podium without notes and hit all the damage-control talking
points: “forgiveness and understanding,” “bad judgment,” “very
immature,” “role model” and “Jesus,” closing with the always popular,
“I will redeem myself.”

He said this: “Dogfighting is a terrible thing and I do reject it.”

That was the one false note. That was the one flubbed line.

And that was the most important point of them all.

entire scandal is, after all, about dogfighting. It’s a cruel,
inhumane, despicable practice, and Vick blew well over $100 million and
possibly his entire football career because of his lust for it.

are millions of people out there who are irate over Vick’s treatment of
the pit bulls that he tortured and killed. They wanted to hear his
thoughts on dogfighting. They wanted to know how he could ever have
gotten involved in such a thing, how he could justify starving animals
to make them more ornery in the ring, and most of all, why exactly he
and his cohorts had to inflict horrific acts upon dogs he felt didn’t
live up to his standards.

This is all about dogfighting, but you wouldn’t have known it from the
offhand remark he tossed out Monday during a cameo appearance
choreographed to begin the massive repair job on his reputation.
( MSNBC.com)

Mark Purdy at the San Jose Mercury News thinks Vick will definitely play again in the NFL (sadly, I agree …) and  muses on lessons to be learned from the whole Vick mess, including this:

We learned that if you
allow athletes to blame others for their mess, they will always try.
That was the only part of Monday’s Vick apology that rang hollow. He
claimed that he had always “accepted responsibility” for his actions.
Huh? Early on, Vick tried to pin everything on his buddies, claiming he
didn’t know what they’d been doing with his money. That was not just
wrong, but stupid. When Vick’s pals saw he was going to let them take
the entire rap, they turned state’s evidence.
(San Jose Mercury News)

First, interesting that for Ventre “Dogfighting is a terrible thing” was the one false note, while for Purdy the only part that rang hollow was Vick saying he accepted responsibility for his actions. I want to comment on the latter point.

I hadn’t paid much attention to the whole saga, just waiting for the eventual and inevitable apology, to know to what extent Vick tried to pin it all on his buddies at the outset. But one common reaction in the slew of “locals react to Vick apology” articles has been that Vick is only sorry that he got caught. Which I’m sure has an element of truth. I doubt Vick would have come to the epiphany that “Dogfighting is a terrible thing” on his own had he not gotten caught.

On the other hand, that dismissal of Vick’s remorse misses the point. Getting called to account for your misdeeds — getting “caught”– is often a necessary precondition for contrition, is it not? If you are particularly gifted at unflinching self-examination, have a highly developed conscience, posses a low tolerance for self-rationalization and are blessed with a profound capacity for moral reasoning you might, on your own, without anyone else pointing out the error of your ways, reach the conclusion that what you are doing wrong (whatever that may be) is in fact wrong, feel remorse for your misdeeds and resolve to change your ways without any outside prompting or coercion. But if you are that morally advanced you’re probably Buddha. You’re not running a dog-fighting ring.

The rest of us often need help admitting that we’re doing wrong. It is only when forced to confront the consequences of our actions that we begin to let go of our rationalizations and self-justifications. They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. But the step before that may be someone else calling that problem to your attention so that you have no choice but to admit it. A federal indictment certainly gets one’s attention. But it need not be so drastic, and my point is not limited to crimes in the legal sense.

Whenever you’re doing wrong, you probably know it. But you’ll keep doing it so long as you can get away with it. You’ll find all kinds of excuses for yourself. As long as you’re suffering no consequences, why not?

Until you get caught. And, again, maybe it’s your own conscience that catches you. Maybe you have one of those “road to Damascus” moments (talk about getting caught …). Maybe you get arrested or indicted, if what you’re doing is bad enough. For the non-criminals (and I hope that is most of you Apologists), it is perhaps something less dramatic … but suddenly you’re exposed! Caught red-handed! There is nowhere to hide! No denying it!

Now … are you sorry you got caught? Of course!

Are you ONLY sorry because you got caught? Probably at first.

And maybe you’ll go right back to doing what you were doing when the heat is off … I think that’s the idea being expressed when people say “He’s only sorry he got caught.”

BUT … maybe you actually do learn from your mistakes. Maybe you do reflect and go on to feel genuine remorse as you recognize the consequences of your actions, not for yourself, but for other people. Maybe you truly resolve to become a better person. To redeem yourself. Maybe you actually accomplish that.

It happens. A lot of criminals come out of prison and commit new crimes. But some really do emerge as changed people and turn their lives around.

Sometimes “finding religion” is just an act or a ploy to gain sympathy. But sometimes those conversions are real.

Is Michael Vick sorry he got caught? I’m sure he is. I’m sure he’s sorry he’s lost his NFL salary and his endorsement contracts. I’m sure he’s sorry he faces prison time.

Has he mentally, morally, spiritually, whatever taken the next step of feeling genuine remorse for his actions and for the harm he caused others — his boss, his teammates, his fans, the children, and those poor dogs?

We don’t know. Only Vick knows. We can hear his words of apology … but only his future actions will tell the real story.

APOLOGY UPDATE: Michael Vick Pleads Guilty, Apologizes for His Dog-Killing Ways

Loathsome dog-killing thug and Atlanta Falcons ex-quarterback Michael Vick today entered his guilty plea in federal court to a conspiracy charge related to a federal dogfighting investigation, as expected. USA Today has audio and provides a rough transcript. Let’s break it down like … oh, I don’t know … Vick’s NFL career:

For most of my life, I’ve been a football player, not a public speaker,
so I really don’t know how to say what I really want to say. … I’ll
take this opportunity just to speak from the heart

Tell it, Michael!

First I want to apologize for all the things that I’ve done and that
I’ve allowed to happen.

Now that’s a good blanket apology. Cover all your bases up front.

I want to personally apologize to commissioner
Goodell, Arthur Blank, coach Bobby Petrino and my Atlanta Falcons
teammates for our previous discussions that we had. I was not honest
and forthright in our discussions. I was ashamed and totally
disappointed in myself to say the least.

Translation: I lied. I lied like a dead dog in a ditch. A dead dog I probably put there. Clearly he owes these particular people apologies. He has damaged the reputation of the NFL and the Falcons organization. He has cost team owner Arthur Blank a lot of money. He has let down his teammates. So, yes, they all deserve a contrite shout-out.

I want to apologize to all the young kids out there for my immature

Good. Kids do tend to look up to sports stars and Vick has not set the best example, has he.

What I did was very immature, so that means I need to grow up.

Well, his logic is flawless.

I totally ask for forgiveness and understanding as I move forward to
bettering Michael Vick the person, not the football player.

That’s nice. You should get plenty of time to reflect on your shortcoming while you are IN PRISON.

I take full
responsibility for my actions. Not for one second will I sit right here
and point the finger and try to blame anybody else for my actions or
what I’ve done. I’m totally responsible, and those things just didn’t
have to happen.

Yes, considering that all your thug buddies rolled over on you and sang to the Feds like a choir of canaries, it is probably best to accept responsibility. Which is kind of what a guilty plea is all about.

I feel like we all make mistakes. I made a mistake in using bad
judgment and making bad decisions. Those things just can’t happen.

He’s right. We all make mistakes. I make mistakes. My mistakes don’t involve financing an illegal dog fighting operation and cruelly executing innocent canines that don’t fight well enough and thereby flushing a $150 million career down the toilet, but we all make mistakes.

Incidentally, while this isn’t quite the passive immaculate “mistakes were made” tense, it comes close … trying to wrap the apologizer’s misdeeds up in the truism that nobody is perfect. I’m not just busting on Vick here. It is VERY hard for anyone to just straight up apologize and take full responsibility. The vast majority of apologies contain at least some element of excuse, mitigating circumstances, evasion or “other people do bad things to.”

Dogfighting is a terrible thing and I do reject it. …

“Dogfighting is a terrible thing.” This is just priceless. This should be printed on T-shirts. Or Ron Mexico jerseys.

Through this situation I found Jesus and asked him for forgiveness
and turned my life over to God. I think that’s the right thing to do as
of right now.

A lot of people do seem to find Jesus behind bars. (Including Paris Hilton!). It is easy to view these jail house conversions with skepticism. On the other hand, people behind bars are highly motivated to take a long hard look at their lives and how they got to be where they are … which is the right mindset for finding Jesus. If Vick is sincere and truly contrite, good for him.

Like I said, through this entire situation I never pointed the
finger at anybody else. I accepted responsibility for my actions and
what I did. And now I have to pay the consequences for it. But in a
sense, I think it will help me as a person. I got a lot to think about
over the next year or so.

In prison.

I offer my deepest apologies to everybody out there in the world who
was affected by this whole situation.

In case he missed anyone earlier.

If I’m more disappointed with
myself than anything, it’s because all the young people, young kids
that I’ve let down, who look at Michael Vick as a role model. So I have
to go through this, and put myself in this situation. I hope every
young kid out there in the world watching this interview who’s been
following this case will use me as an example for using better judgment
and making better decisions.

I can’t quarrel with this. Remember, kids, dogfighting is a terrible thing.

Once again, I offer my deepest apologies to everyone.

I will redeem myself. I have to. I’ve got a lot of downtime, a lot
of time to think about my actions and what I’ve done

In prison.

and how to make
Michael Vick a better person. Thank you.
(USA Today)

Hopefully young Mr. Vick has learned a valuable lesson. We shall see.

Michael Vick Apology … Sort of

And we’re back …

Just in time for loathsome thug and Atlanta Falcons soon-to-be ex-quarterback Michael Vick to plead guilty to federal charges related to “helping run an interstate dog-fighting enterprise known as “Bad Newz Kennels” from 2001 through April 2007.” (“Vick agrees to plea deal in dog-fighting case,” Hollywoodreporter.com). Mr. Vick will likely do prison time for his offenses and this is hopefully the end of his NFL career.

Personally, I would grant Vick the option of avoiding prison if he would accept the alternate sentence of being doused in bacon grease and thrown into a pit full of starving pit bulls. See how he likes it. I’m not a big fan of people who torture animals for their own sadistic amusement.

However, this is Apology Index, not the Creative Alternative Sentencing Blog, so our interest in this story is twofold. First, it connects to the very first apology we covered on Apology Index, when Clinton Portis of the Washington Redskins made some ill-advised statements in defense of dog-fighting and, by extension Vick. Portis later reconsidered his views.

However, Vick’s guilty plea also brings with it an apology.

Well, sort of. It is one of those mouthpiece apologies. The kind we get when the person who actually needs to apologize is either too dumb to say the right thing or under indictment. Sometimes both. So we have this from Vick’s attorney:

“After consulting with his family over the weekend, Michael Vick asks
that I announce today that he has reached an agreement with federal
prosecutors regarding the charges pending against him,” lead defense
attorney Billy Martin said in a statement.

“Mr. Vick has agreed
to enter a plea of guilty to those charges and to accept full
responsibility for his action and the mistakes he has made. Michael
wishes to apologize again to everyone who has been hurt by this
matter,” Martin’s statement said.
(“Vick agrees to plea deal, prison possible,”CNN.com)

Presumably “everyone who has been hurt by this matter” includes the dogs Vick helped hang, electrocute, drown and shoot.

Court documents released last week showed that two of Vick’s alleged
partners said he helped kill dogs that didn’t fight well, and that all
three men “executed approximately eight dogs” in ways that included
hanging and drowning.


On their behalf, I would like to say “Bark you, Vick.”

We may get a more extensive fake apology from Vick’s team later. And perhaps he will mumble something apologetic at his sentencing hearing. Developing.

APOLOGY UPDATE: Redskin Portis Reconsiders Dogfighting

In our very first apology analysis, we dogged Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis for a fairly lame and not-terribly-sincere sounding apology for his remarks endorsing dogfighting — or at least questioning whether making two hapless hounds battle each other to the death for the amusement of onlookers should be considered a crime.

It appears that he has subsequently given the matter greater thought and reached the conclusion that dogfighting really is a bad thing:

“A couple of weeks ago, when I made those comments, I didn’t understand
the seriousness behind it,” Portis said. “I didn’t know it would affect
that many people, didn’t think what I said was that offensive. But
after doing research and seeing how serious people take this, I
shouldn’t have made the comments.”
(“Portis changes dog fighting stance.” SI.com)

He goes on to say:

“I had no idea the love that people have for animals or didn’t consider
it when I made those comments,” Portis said. “I’m not even a pets man.
I’ve got a fish — that’s the easiest thing to keep up. I’ve never been
into dogs, never dealt with dogs, don’t like playing with dogs. But at
the same time there’s a lot of people who are crazy over pets.”

The heat he has taken for his remarks probably helped focus his thinking on the issue:

The Washington Redskins running back spoke Tuesday of the searing
criticism he has received since he made light of the dog fighting
investigation involving Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.

But he does seem, in classic TV sit-com fashion, to have learned a valuable lesson:

Portis said Tuesday that he’ll be more judicious before offering an opinion that might come back to dog him.

“From now on, I don’t comment on nobody,” Portis said. “My life is the only thing I can control.”

Sorry, Bo Jackson. I am for real

I found this little apology curious and did some digging. It comes from your friends at the California Newspapers Partnership, MediaNews Group, Inc., and MediaNews Interactive, Inc.

First, I’ll paraphrase my version, because the actual text is dry as sawdust.

“Hey, sports legend Bo Jackson, remember that article we published over two years ago where we said you were an abuser of anabolic steroids? You know, where we quoted that woman who said, “Bo Jackson lost his
hip because of anabolic abuse,” but we didn’t have any actual evidence to back that up? Remember how you sued us and we issued a retraction and apologized about two weeks later. Well, we’d just like to say today, randomly, on June 2, 2007 that we’re still really sorry.”

Here is the full text. While I usually don’t quote the entire article, this is more of a notice of apology and I am sure your friends at he California Newspapers Partnership, MediaNews Group, Inc., and MediaNews Interactive, Inc. will appreciate  my assistance in further disseminating it.

Public Apology to Bo Jackson

behalf of the California Newspapers Partnership, MediaNews Group, Inc.,
and MediaNews Interactive, Inc., we would like to reiterate our
previous unconditional apology to Mr. Bo Jackson and his family for the
article titled “Forum Tackles the Dangers of Steroid Use” that appeared
in both the print and online versions of the Inland Valley Daily
Bulletin on March 24, 2005.

The article quoted a speaker who stated that “Bo Jackson lost his
hip because of anabolic abuse.” Because the reporter did not obtain
corroborating evidence to support the statement, we fully retract this
quote and deeply regret and apologize for any distress this may have
caused to Mr. Jackson, his family, or friends. Mr. Jackson is one of
the finest athletes of the past two decades, and we apologize if the
article served in any way to call into question his athletic
accomplishments throughout his career.

Now what could be going on here?  The background is simple enough. The Inland Valley
Daily Bulletin
, a small local California newspaper ran the story referenced above. They said Bo knows steroids. Bo said no, but I do know a lawyer. Lawsuit. Retraction. ESPN has the details:

Report alleges steroid use ended Jackson’s career (ESPN.com, 4/6/2005)

Paper apologizes ‘without reservations’ (ESPN.com, 4/11/2005)

Just from the dates, you can see it did not take long for your friends at he California Newspapers Partnership, MediaNews Group, Inc., and MediaNews Interactive, Inc. to realize they were in deep trouble. Complete retraction and apology. But what interest us today is not their 2005 apology, but this seemingly out of the blue 2007 apology. What is up with that?

A clue, from the second ESPN article above:

Jackson’s defamation suit would continue, his attorney Dan
Biederman said Sunday, adding that he had no comment on the
newspaper’s retraction.

statement released today is the first step towards a resolution of this
matter,” Jackson’s attorney Dan Biederman said in a statement to ESPN.
“The statement confirms what we knew all along — Bo Jackson never used
steroids. The statement does not change the fact that this reporter
printed a reckless lie and must be held accountable. Professional
journalistic standards demand that there be controls in place that
prevent such a reckless statement to be published across this nation
over the internet. Perhaps this reporter and the editors of the
newspaper can explain how you un-ring a bell.”

The apology was given, but Bo was still mad, so the lawsuit went on. I don’t care enough to dig up the outcome but  …

(Okay, I do care — the lawsuit was later dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. Don’t say I never looked anything up for you.)

… it is safe to say that your friends at the California Newspapers Partnership, MediaNews Group, Inc., and MediaNews Interactive, Inc. realized that there was nothing to prevent Bo Jackson from suing them again in the proper venue and, most likely, hitting a homerun/scoring a touchdown victory in the courtroom.

So my guess is that some kind of settlement was reached. And that as part of that settlement, your friends at the California Newspapers Partnership, MediaNews Group, Inc., and MediaNews Interactive, Inc. agreed to apologize to Bo Jackson again and again. Perhaps for the rest of his natural life. Perhaps Bo also gets to smack the author of the offending article with a foam bat once a year at a time and place of his choosing. And/or throw a football at him. I have no idea.

But when I read that Public Apology to Bo Jackson quoted above, I smell lawyers. Don’t you?

DATE OF (RE)APOLOGY: June 2, 2007
APOLOGIZER: The California Newspapers Partnership, MediaNews Group, Inc., and MediaNews Interactive, Inc.
APOLOGIZEE: Mr. Bo Jackson
Artcle titled “Forum Tackles the Dangers of Steroid Use” that appeared
in both the print and online versions of the Inland Valley Daily
Bulletin on March 24, 2005; any distress this may have
caused to Mr. Bo Jackson, his family, or friends; potentially calling into question his athletic
accomplishments throughout his career

Washington Redskins Apologize for Player Comments

Let’s start with this one, which was actually issued a couple of days ago. Without getting too deep into the back story, there is currently some suspicion that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick is involved with dogfighting, based on some dogfighting related paraphernalia found on property he owns in Virginia. In a couple of recent interviews, Washington Redskins quarterback Clinton Portis spoke up in Vick’s defense and seemed to suggest (and by “seemed to” I mean “flat out stated”) that dogfighting is no big deal and really shouldn’t even be considered a crime. At least, that’s what the words coming out of his mouth seemed to mean.

But on May 21, Portis issued this statement through the Redskins organization:

Portis Statement On Dogfighting Comment

The following is a statement from Redskins running back Clinton Portis
regarding recent comments he made to a Norfolk, Va., television

“In the recent interview I gave concerning dogfighting, I want to
make it clear I do not take part in dogfighting or condone dogfighting
in any manner.”

Actually, in the recent interview, Portis made it pretty clear that he did condone dogfighting. Quoth he: ““I don’t know if he was fighting dogs or not, but it’s his property, it’s his dog. If that’s what he wants to do, do it.”

But clearly, the Redskins did not condone his condoning of canine combat sports. In case anyone doubted the not-so-sincere sincerity of Portis’s entirely voluntary disavowal of his own words, the Redskins issued another statement the next day, May 22:

Redskins Statement On Portis Comments
The following is a statement issued by the Washington Redskins:

“The Washington Redskins, as an organization, obviously would never
condone anything related to animal cruelty. The team takes the recent
comments of Clinton Portis very seriously and apologizes to everyone
that was offended.”

Here is our apology! (The Portis statement was more of a not-very-convincing clarification. This is not the Clarification Index, though I certainly invite someone to start one.) It is what we will call a Corporate Apology. It is not an individual apologizing, but the “Washington Redskins, as an organization.” I’m not sure anyone spoke the words of the apology … it seems to be “a statement issued.” And it is not an apology to anyone in  particular, but to “everyone that was offended” (Which, I think, should actually be everyone who was offended. But this isn’t the Grammar Index either.)

All in all, pretty weak tea as apologies go. I would rate this low in sincerity, but also low in severity. It is a bit of corporate spin control, the Redskins doing some public relations clean up after ill-considered comments of who apparently suffers from foot-in-mouth disease.

DATE OF APOLOGY:  May 22, 2007
APOLOGIZER: Washington Redskins
APOLOGIZEE: Everyone that (sic) was offended by the recent comments of Clinton Portis

Further commentary: It’s Portis’ mouth vs. mouthpieces (John Ryan, San Jose Mercury News)