Being wrong is something I’m quite good at. In fact, it happens so much, it’s almost second nature to me.
And when you’re wrong as many times as I have been, something else becomes like second nature – apologizing.
In my 41 years, there have been countless apologies at home, at school, in the newsroom and on the baseball diamond. Heck, I’ve even grovelled for forgiveness in the pages of this very newspaper.
Although the most hard-headed and stubborn (you know who you are) might not get it, those of us who are humble enough to admit our wrongdoings have learned to appreciate – even embrace – the art of the apology.
And with so many public apologies – good and bad – being thrown around these days, I thought it would be fun to take a few recent examples and see what we can learn from them.
Kevin Pillar, after being caught on live TV using a homophobic slur during a Toronto Blue Jays game:
“There’s a lot of kids and a lot of people that look up to me. But I am a human being. I’m not perfect. I made a mistake, I own up to that mistake. I had many role models as a kid that were athletes as well and they made mistakes. Hopefully I have the opportunity to make this right and be a good example of accountability and taking ownership.”
With this heartfelt mea culpa, Pillar gets it right and shows why he deserves the moniker “Superman.” No excuses here. Just straight up ownership and honesty.
Tom Zytaruk, after being called out by readers for making a grammatical error, in a recent Now-Leader column:
“It’s true, I confess, I have committed the mother of all sins: In a web headline, I horribly and incorrectly used the word “rode” instead of “ridden,” I’ve been told, and told, and told. Shame-faced as I am, I’m nevertheless a big enough boy to share my humiliating transgression with you. Hey, sooner or later we all get a pimple on our butt, at least once in our lifetime, and today it’s my turn.”
This is a classic case of taking lemons and making the proverbial lemonade.
Tom took an embarrasing mistake and had some fun with it – while at the same time calling out readers for their stone-cold callousness (I’m sure they have never made a mistake at work, right?)
You can read his whole column by clicking here.
Kellie Leitch, on her role in the proposed barbaric cultural practices tip line during the 2015 campaign:
“If I could go back in time, which I can’t, I would change things.”
Not a bad sentiment but when it comes to apologies, Kellie should know actions speak louder than words. She later backtracked, adopting the same type of low-brow politicking she seemed to apologize for months earlier.
Donald Trump, after being recorded making lewd and sexually aggressive remarks a decade ago:
“I said it, I was wrong and I apologize… I’ve said some foolish things, but there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed, and intimidated his victims.”
Donald, Donald, Donald. His apology started out OK, but he couldn’t resist deflecting the blame and attacking someone else. Maybe we should give him a break. After all, Trump rarely says sorry for anything, no matter how wrong he is proven to be or how strong the public pressure.
Clearly, he needs more practise – a tremendous amount of practise. Bigly.
There you go. The art of the apology – some have it, some don’t.
And if I missed any juicy public apologies in my column, I’m sorry.
Really, really, really sorry.
Beau Simpson is the editor of the Surrey Now-Leader. You can reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.