The Non Apology

If you're here in Florida, the news is awash with coverage of Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen's statement last week that he admired Fidel Castro.

Yes, in Miami, where many of the residents can tell you about harrowing escapes from the dictator. The manager got a five game suspension, and yesterday's NPR broadcast covered the manager's apology. To me, there was something not quite right about it.

Guillen said:
"I'm here on my knees to apologize," Guillen said.

"I'm very sorry about the problem, what happened. I will do everything in my power to make it better. ... When you make a mistake like this, you can't sleep."

Do you catch the semantics, the thing that rubbed me the wrong way? "I'm sorry IT HAPPENED." Nothing about I'm sorry I hurt and offended people, I was wrong or any number of sincere things that one should be offering up when they've made a mistake, especially one that is a slap in the face to the residents of Miami who are of Cuban heritage. He's sorry it happened, the uproar, not that he said something that is offensive to people.

The sad thing is, I'm hearing a lot more of these press conferences, the ones with insincerity, that I'm wondering if non-apologies are the way of the future. Don't admit you're wrong, don't ask forgiveness and never ever tell people you're sorry you've upset them. In the past year, I can count at least four occasions where my ears caught the change in phrasing. (and I'm really trying to remember the other instances to offer up as examples)

Is this the way of the future? Have we become a society that can't fess up to screwing up and sincerely apologize for hurting someone?


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