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It's been six short months since our first lesson in how to say "I'm sorry!" But in the fast-paced world of sports, six months can seem like forever, especially when our favorite athletes keep doing and saying things for which they need to make amends. So it's already time for an update.
Use the following time-tested and PR staff-approved jock apologies -- in conjunction with our first installment -- to apologize your way out of any sticky sports situation.
The Bill Parcells Method
The Apology: "Today during my news conference I made a very inappropriate reference, and although I prefaced it with the remark, 'no disrespect to anyone intended,' it was still uncalled for and inconsiderate. For that I apologize to anyone who may have been offended."
Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple also said the "organization apologizes to anyone who may have been offended."
What He Did Right: By suggesting that he meant "no disrespect to anyone" and apologizing to any (weak-minded sissies) who "may have been offended," Parcells subtly shifts the blame onto the audience for taking offense at his innocent remark. Parcells also scores points by throwing his PR guy in front of the train. Veteran move.
What He Could Improve: Parcells could have gone the extra mile and gathered his friends in the media together for a nice, long group hug. He could have shown his considerable sensitive side (see: blonde hair dye, 2003). He could have bought lattes for the entire group and talked out the problem using phrases such as, "When I say 'Jap,' you feel ... "
Then again, the warm, personal, faxed apology always works wonders, too.
The Junior Seau Method
The Apology: "A joke that came out last night, due to my stupidity, is something we have to deal with today," Seau said last week at the Dolphins' practice facility. "With that, I am very sad and I apologize."
What He Did Right: It's always key to express one's own stupidity. This is a great rapport-builder with those in the audience who also consider themselves stupid. The expression of sadness also scores points, although tears would have been helpful.
How He Could Improve: His memory. This is the same Seau that suggested that the only way to stop LaDainian Tomlinson is to feed him "fried chicken and watermelon." Ouch.
The Jamal Lewis Method
The Apology: "I was hoping that it [drug charges, pending trial] might go away, hoping that it might disappear," he said. "But being that you're in the spotlight and ... out there seen and noticed, I was sure it was going to come up sooner or later. What better time than now?"
What He Did Right: Embracing the fact that there's no better time than now to go on trial on charges that could have him locked up for 10 years.
What He Could Improve: Seeking counsel from the Ravens' resident acquittal-master, Ray Lewis, might hurt his credibility.
The Gary Barnett Method
The Apology: "I sincerely regret that yesterday a portion of my remarks were either misinterpreted or taken out of context, and I apologize for answering that question in a manner where I must have come across as insensitive ... I'm a team player and I will accept President [Elizabeth] Hoffman's decision. While I do not agree with it, I will deal with it like I would expect one of my players to handle his consequences."
What He Did Right: Zip. Zilch. Nada. Instead of responding to a female player's rape allegations by belittling her place-kicking skills, Barnett would have been better served by saying absolutely nothing. His remarks could only have come across as more insensitive if he'd punctuated them with a choke-hold or chair-throw (see Knight, Bobby).
What He Can Improve: He could begin by removing himself from the process altogether and utilizing a PR staff person to write his apologies from now on -- or he could have utilized our handy apology generator (see November column).
The Edgar Prado Method
The Apology: "I'm very sorry for Mr. Servis and all the connections for Smarty Jones, but I had to do my job," Prado said. "This is part of the business, and I'm very sorry it had to be me."
What He Did Right: Actually winning the Belmont Stakes. Other than that, basically nothing.
What He Can Improve: Last we checked, the goal of a sporting event is to WIN (the 2003 Tigers notwithstanding). As for wanting to help Smarty Jones, he could have A) Actually ridden Smarty Jones, or B) Ridden his own horse in the opposite direction. He did neither.
The Todd Bertuzzi Method
The Apology: "I just want to apologize for what happened out there and I feel awful for what transpired," Bertuzzi said. "I'm relieved to hear that Steve's going to have a full recovery."
What He Did Right: Actually offering a real apology. Refreshing.
What He Can Improve: Real, sincere apologies are an anomaly in pro sports, so the Bertuzzi method sets a dangerous precedent. To fit in, Bertuzzi should make his next apology as insincere and impersonal as possible. Express false remorse (Parcells), subtly blame the victim (Barnett) and always make the same mistake twice (Seau). He could even go so far as to pull an Edgar Prado and score a "make-up" goal for the other team.
Just a thought.