If there but for the grace of God go I. We are all human and fall down but there has perhaps never been greater media scrutiny when it comes to the actions of public figures. To be sure, it seems, every day a politician, coach or administrator is admonished or worse for what they do or say (or what they don’t do) – often rightly so. So, where for art thou apologies?
In recent days, the Mayor of Troy, Janice Daniels, has made headlines for a homosexual slur on her Facebook page. As of this past weekend, she remained adamant that she would neither remove the post nor apologize, citing the remarks as “personal comments” made last summer before she considered running for mayor that she did not feel were offensive. As the story spread nationally with protests and calls locally for her resignation, Daniels on Monday did an about face on WXYT-AM’s Charlie Langton show, finally conceding that her comments were “inappropriate,” ultimately saying: “I do apologize.” One, obviously, made under duress.
In less recent days and in the world of sports, we have witnessed much turmoil but, it might seem, not much remorse. Several lost their jobs at Penn State yet public remarks were certainly short on apologies. When competing “Jims” Schwartz and Harbaugh locked horns on the field this year, while both latter conceded that they might have acted more appropriately, Harbaugh added, with regard to the “A word”: “I don’t think that there’s any reason for an apology. Apologies always seem to me like excuses.” And, of course, Ndamukong Suh, post-Thanksgiving, uttered these immortal words in light of bad behavior: “I am only apologizing to my teammates, coaches and my true fans…” An apology, it seems, with conditions.
Perhaps some consider apologizing as sign of weakness while others are not in favor of its connotation as an admittance of guilt. Yet, in the world of adversity/reputation management, the old phrase: To err is human, to forgive devine should be at the forefront of all of our thinking. Yet, to enable the masses to forgive and forget can only be accomplished when genuine remorse is felt and communicated. What do I do when lightening strikes me? Say you’re sorry…and mean it.