How Not to Apologize


My personal favorites:

“The comment was not meant to be a regional slur. To the extent that it was misinterpreted to be one, I apologize.”

— Lawyer Kenneth Taylor, after referring to people living in the mountains of Kentucky as “illiterate cave dwellers.” Oct. 17, 2003


“I’m sincerely sorry…. There was no anti-Semitism whatsoever on my part.”

— Major League Baseball umpire Bruce Froemming, after calling an umpiring administrator a “stupid Jew bitch.” Jan. 31, 2003

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9 comments for “How Not to Apologize

  1. April 29, 2006 at 10:03 pm

    Wow. Some of those just boggle the mind. The lawyer that Dick Cheney shot apologizing for being shot?

  2. Kaye
    April 30, 2006 at 12:06 am

    I happen to be one of those “illiterate cave dwellers” Mr. Taylor was referring to, and I certainly take it as a regional slur. Of course, I’m an illiterate cave dweller, so what do I know?

  3. Sophist
    April 30, 2006 at 12:22 am

    How is it that people don’t get that “I’m sorry you were too stupid to understand what I said” doesn’t count as an apology? What are you, five?

  4. April 30, 2006 at 11:41 am

    I’m with Tapetum. Whittington’s apology for being shot takes the cake.

  5. Linnaeus
    April 30, 2006 at 12:29 pm

    To be fair, though, I interpreted Whittington’s apology (or whatever you wish to call it) not as one for being shot, but more like a statement of regret that the vice president was taking the heat that the did. It’s really not that surprising to me. I had no sense that Whittington would ever (at least publicly) denounce or criticize Cheney. Access to the administration is far too important for people like Whittington.

    I would have been surprised if Whittington hadn’t made some sort of concilliatory statement.

  6. ks
    April 30, 2006 at 2:00 pm

    I’m with Kaye, being from the mountains of WV very close to the mountains of KY, I’m also an illiterate cave dweller. And that is very much a regional slur–at least as bad as the Deliverance jokes I hear occaisionally.

  7. April 30, 2006 at 3:04 pm

    My favorite apology is from the 2000 election when Bush was caught calling a NY Times reporter a “major league asshole.” Bush apologized for being overheard, not for making the statement itself.

  8. Magis
    April 30, 2006 at 6:31 pm

    “Never ruin a perfectly good apology with an excuse.”

    —Kimberly Johnson

  9. Jeff
    May 1, 2006 at 8:38 am

    I think they figure anything with the words “sorry” or “apologize” is an apology, no matter how many caveats they throw in. It reminds me of elementary school, when angry students would be forced to apologize to each other and the kids would search for the least conciliatory language that the teacher/principal would accept.

    If you disagree, I’m sorry you feel that way.

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