From a very young age we are conditioned to apologize.
Any mindless kid can belch out the, "I'm sorry" that their parents demand. Sadly, it's far less common for adults to crouch down, look their kid in the eye and articulate WHY their behavior was wrong, HOW their selfish acts had consequences that resulted in a greater bad and that they ought to consider such actions a mistake that they need to learn from. Throw in a tried and true- "....I have a feeling you wouldn't like it if someone else did that to you" and that kid might actually have learned something.
Having said that, I felt Jim Boeheim's recent apology hit the mark as a good apology. To be sure- he should have apologized- but he could've just read a lawyer'd up "statement" all the same and tell us he is sorry if anyone so happened to offended by his defense of a pedophile.
He didn't blame others, but rather showed sincere contrition, genuine embarrassment, resolution of improvement, and overall regret- both verbally and in his countenance. Since we cannot ask for perfection in people, that's about as much as we can really ask for out of those issuing apologies.
Since we all make mistakes, and 'tis the season of forgiveness I thought I'd celebrate 6 Great Sports Apologies, with that being one of them. Here are the other five in random order.
Don Zimmer's Post-Pedro Fight Apology
When then 72-year old Don Zimmer charged Pedro Martinez during a 2003 bench clearing brawl, Pedro grabbed his head, and ushered him to the ground, face-first. That specific image marked the ugliest point of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry and made Pedro look like a less classy version of Ben Stiller's geriatric-abusing character from Happy Gilmore.
So a professional athlete threw to the ground a 72 year old man who had been in professional baseball for 54 years and who was the first to apologize? Don Zimmer. And he made no excuses, faulted no one but himself and never alluded to the age gap between him and the man who threw him to the ground.
I will always be impressed with the look of utter disgust on his otherwise perpetually smiling face while he fought off tears and snot to issue an apology that was short and sweet but complete: "I'm embarrassed about what happened, I'm embarrassed for the Yankees, the Red Sox, the fans, the umpires and my family. That's all I have to say. I'm sorry.".
Greg Oden's Dingles Pic Apology
Greg Oden is a good Indiana boy and apologized for pictures of his (enormous) private parts being seen on the internet and any embarrassment this brought upon his employers.
But he could have said: Being a 22 year-old multi-millionaire, 7 foot-tall, black professional athlete two things are a given: 1) women are interested in my penis, and 2) women are going to get my penis. The fact we're sitting here now only reinforces that. If anyone here is honestly surprised by either of those please raise your hand and next time I see you I will present you with a mesh hat that says, "I'm a f##$ing idiot".
Frank Robinson's Tearful Apology For Benching a Catcher who Deserved it.
In his playing days, the fiery-but-black Frank Robinson was characterized as an "angry" player, while future fiery whiteys like Pete Rose and Lenny Dykstra (both have been to prison since their playing days) were celebrated for their "hustle", tenacity, toughness and effort.
Here is what the "angry" Frank could've said at this press conference: "My catcher totally shit the bed, so I took him out. If he wanted to stay in the game, maybe he should not have allowed two passed balls that inning.". But he demurred.
I remember seeing this press conference on a muted television at a bar and wondering what career-ending-scandal must have unfolded in order to make a man's man like Frank Robinson actually cry. Instead this malevolent man teared up at the embarrassment he may or may not have caused his poorly-performing catcher.
THE Tim Tebow Apology
What he could have said: "Sorry I'm not perfect. You're welcome for last year's national championship and my Heisman. In summation, blow me then make me a sandwich while you shut the fu## up. Goodbye.".
Grady Sizemore's Dingles Pic Apology(?)
Greg Oden and Grady Sizemore found themselves being the trailblazers for what is assured to be commonplace among future athletes: Apologizing for leaked penis pictures. While Sizemore apologized for the ensuing distraction the pictures caused, a fearless journalist also cleared a journalistic path in covering such scandals: She complimented his penis.
At the 4:18 mark, one intrepid broad with a microphone who used to be a journalist prefaced a softball question with, "Grady, well, they were pretty nice pictures I have to say...." which resulted in an awesome shit-eating grin (what does that even mean, by the way?) from Grady at the 4:21mark.
Did she really HAVE to say that?