While apologies have become a dime a dozen, and most are either insincere, or filled with qualifications and excuses, this one has some substance to it. Here’s the background:
Last week, the National Football League’s commissioner suspended Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice for the first two games of the coming season.
The penalty was met with overwhelming outrage. Rice had beaten his then-fiancé (they have since gotten married). Players have suffered much tougher penalties (at least four game suspensions; sometimes a full season) for what are perceived as lesser offenses.
Of course, this topic became national fodder for talk programs of all kinds. One of those programs is ESPN’s First Take. On Friday, July 25th, Stephen A. Smith, a popular member of the show, made some (later) admittedly stupid and offensive comments. He left the impression that women should stop “provoking” these attacks they suffer.
You can imagine the explosion of reaction all over the media, both traditional and social, during the weekend. He was vilified, and for good reason, based on how he said what he said.
The very next Monday, July 28th, First Take opened cold with Smith on camera, offering an apology.
Now, so many people have apologized for so many things lately (certainly since we entered the new era of instant, global communications), my opinion is their apologies have little value.
However, Smith, first by responding relatively quickly, and taking full responsibility, has done a commendable job. Indeed, he’s one of the few who did not apologize only to those who may have been offended. He assumed everyone not only was, but had a right to be offended. His apology sounds and looks sincere.