Another Phony Apology

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Another Phony Apology

Over the past few years, Eugene and I have posted on this unwelcome and growing phenomenon: the non-apology apology. To halt bad press and public flack, someone says, "I am sorry if people were offended ..."

This time, it's from the sports world. The offending party is Keith Hernandez, who is the broadcast analyst for the New York Mets' baseball team. It all happened during the TV broadcast of the game played Saturday between the Mets and the San Diego Padres. As the New York Times explains:
When [Kelly Calabrese] was hired by the San Diego Padres in 2004, she was the first woman working full time on the training staff of a major league team, and she is still the only one. But what she did not realize was that anyone would think it was a big deal.

The 33-year-old Calabrese suddenly became a big deal when Hernandez, a Mets television analyst, saw her in the Padres' dugout during Saturday night's game against the Mets ..."
This is what Hernandez told his TV audience when he spotted Calabrese in the dugout:
"Who is the girl in the dugout, with the long hair? What's going on here? You have got to be kidding me. Only player personnel in the dugout.

... "I won't say that women belong in the kitchen, but they don't belong in the dugout."
Bruce Bochy, the Padres manager, offered this reaction to Hernandez' words: "I didn't think gender was even an issue anymore."

Hernandez has reportedly apologized for his remarks. But his apology was pretty lame. According to today's USA Today, Hernandez said on Monday "if I offended anybody I sincerely apologize." He obviously offended somebody. Even he knew that or else he wouldn't have said what he did on Monday.

So, once again, a public figure declines to acknowledge that what he said or did was wrong -- i.e., a real apology. Instead, what we get from Hernandez is a non-apology apology that almost suggests the problem wasn't what he said, but, rather, that some people out there are "too sensitive."

Not only did Hernandez show himself to be a narrow-minded fool; he also revealed that he could use a refresher course on Major League Baseball rules. As the Times explains:
... Hernandez, while backing away from his gender distinction yesterday, maintained that a massage therapist was not allowed in the dugout.

Major League Baseball officials said, however, that while there were restrictions on how many trainers and conditioning staff members could be in the dugout at one time, they did not dictate which ones could be there.
Associated Press sports columnist Tim Dahlberg summed up the episode best:
Apparently "Just For Men" isn't just a hair dye that Hernandez endorses. It's his way of looking at life.

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