dodging apologies

image courtesy of sunsports (when’s the last time the florida / georgia game was on sunsports?)


A few hours after the final edits on yesterday’s post, I came across a perfect real-life illustration of our culture’s lack of remorse:

Last Saturday, University of Florida’s Chas Henry was just about to kick a game-winning field goal in overtime when Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham clutched his throat in a motion to the young kicker.  A grown 44-year old man giving the choke sign to a 21-year old college kid.

It’s not, however, the above occurrence that bothers me.  It was foolish and immature, to be sure.  But we’re talking about a game in which guys wear helmets and bulky pads so they can hit each other really hard.  The sport is a glorified version of “Kill the Man With the Ball” (and I love it).  This was a choke sign — not a death threat or a punch to the throat.  It’s an issue, but not a huge issue.

But the following bit is.

Grantham had this to say in response to questions about his actions:  “As a competitor, sometimes you get caught up in the heat of the moment.  I wish the situation hadn’t happened. It was a tough, hard-fought game.  They won it, and I’m ready to move forward and finish out the year strong.”

That’s not so bad.  I wish this hadn’t happened; let’s put it behind us.

But when pushed to offer an apology to the college kicker, the defensive coordinator only offered, “I’ve kind of basically said what I’m going to say.”

There is a HUGE difference between “I wish the situation hadn’t happened” and “I’m sorry for what I’ve done.”  This might not have been so noticeable if the first quote was able to stand alone.  But when specifically questioned about an apology, we don’t find one.  Instead we find pride, a lack of remorse, and the back side of a 44-year old man who is paid to lead, motivate, and teach young men how to act on a football field.

It was the heat of the moment, and I’m a competitor.

Translated:  It wasn’t my fault, but I can make this sound polite and gentlemanly.


Allow me to end with a limerick:

The coach put a hand to his throat
suggesting the kicker would choke.
He felt no regret,
hoped all would forget.
I’m sure later he’ll claim he misspoke.



Filed under really?!, sports

15 responses to “dodging apologies

  1. Brett: great thought! it seems much easier to dodge the apology than to admit a mistake, apologize and move on. I don’t know if it is seen as a sign of weakness or pride. I try to remember the advice someone gave me once early on in my ministry: “Never be ashamed to admit failure and apologize.” It has stood me in good stead (unfortunately way too often). This coach should admit his mistake and apologize. Sort of like Andy Pettite acknowledged his and apologized and it is over. Meanwhile, Roger continues to dodge.

    • bill, i have this nasty habit of apologizing but still trying to explain away why i did what i did. i don’t think that’s always bad, necessarily. to say i’m sorry and then explain that i wasn’t simply trying to be rude, but was tired or thinking about something else, etc.

      but, still, i ought to be able to let an apology just stand.

  2. To apologize the coach would have to accept and acknowledge that his actions were wrong. Pride can keep one from acknowledging the wrong, but the problem is more about his denial that his actions were wrong.

    Fear of legal repercussions contributes to many of these highly public “apologies-that-aren’t” but a missing or flawed moral compass lies at their heart. These situations reveal our character.

    • i remember hearing often people say that character is who you are when no one’s watching. in this case, though, there were some 90,000 people watching in person, and hundreds of thousands more on television…

  3. steve ker

    “I;m wrong, I’m sorry, it will never happen again.”
    We rarely hear this any more. There is always some outside force that causes our missteps. From coachs, to our President, to husbands,we want to blame some one or thing for our errors.
    We need to remember that Jesus said, “let your yes be yes and your no be no”. The only way we can really move on is to admit our mistakes and and call on the Lord to help us not do them again, and if we do it again, admit it and ask for help again.

  4. JMF

    Great limerick, indeed! I’d been wondering when you were going to incorporate a decent limerick into your blogging.

    That story is really, really funny.

    There is definitely a cultural taboo against saying “sorry.” Here is something funny I catch myself saying: When in a discussion (argument, debate…something beyond chatting), I’ll say “I don’t disagree with that” as opposed to “I agree.”

    So many things we (I) do are designed to keep us (me) from appearing weak.

    • there once was a man so afraid he’d look weak
      expressions of regret he never would speak.
      and if concurring were he,
      he’d add “i don’t disagree” —
      in macho language to match his physique.

      that one’s especially for you, fife.

  5. Your limericks I find quite witty,
    To miss them would be quite a pity,
    Your haikus as well
    Are really quite swell,
    But that coach’s actions were bad.

  6. Pingback: confession and healing « aliens and strangers

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