In an earlier blog (I’m Sorry – does it calm the waters or fan the flames?) I differentiated between types of apologies. A partial and insincere apology, such as “I’m sorry if any of my actions offended anyone” can easily be interpreted as “I didn’t do anything wrong, but I regret that you are so sensitive.” A full apology, on the other hand, acknowledges fault and is often offered with a promise not to repeat the behaviour in question. Some of the elements of a full apology include:
- acknowledgement of the hurt or damage done
- taking responsibility for the situation
- a statement of regret
- a promise that it won’t happen again
Earlier this week, Nik Lewis, an all star receiver with the Calgary Stampeders (of the Canadian Football League) tweeted the following:
“just bought OJ’s gloves on EBay. Now all I need is a white girl named Nicole #MaybeALittleToFar”
Not surprisingly, this sparked widespread outrage and resulted in both a fine from the league and a disclaimer from his team (“this organization is not proud of what occurred.”)
When a reporter asked Lewis if he regretted sending out the tweet, he replied:
“I mean, I regret getting money taken out of my pocket [fined],” he said. “I mean, I regret saying it. But I can’t take it back. That’s something you just go through in life. My life has been about overcoming things that I’ve always overcame. I’ll just continue to push forward and overcome this and when I go out there on Sunday, and I’ll just prove why I’m here.
“Everything I do can be offended by somebody, so I mean I’m not going to spend my life just sitting here, walking around and apologizing to everybody,” he said. “You know people follow me on Twitter for a reason. A lot of people have sent me letters and things like that on twitter expressing how funny they think I am and not to change and all this other stuff.
“For the people I didn’t offend, thanks for the support. For the people I do offend, I can’t apologize every day of my life, because I’m going to do something every day to offend somebody, and that’s just the way it is. You can’t just go around apologizing every time. Am I sorry that you got offended? Yes.”
I can’t think of a better example of a partial and insincere apology – and confirmation that such an apology adds insult to injury by a blaming those who were offended for being too sensitive.