The Apology as Salt in the Wound: The LA Clippers Story

The owner of the LA Clippers NBA team allegedly suggested to his former girlfriend, who is African-American, that she stop encouraging African-Americans to attend Clippers games. The following is statement released yesterday by the Clippers organization, purportedly as an “apology.”

This is a good example of the “apology” used as a backdoor effort to win the argument. It sounds almost satirical.  It goes beyond the “if you were hurt” insult to the borderline self-righteous, “IF this was even me.”  Well, was it or wasn’t it?  You have to have some brains to run an NBA franchise.  You seem sure it’s the boss’s former squeeze.  You should be able to tell if it’s the boss on the line with her.

This incident is a learning opportunity.  If the statement below is the best you can muster, it’s probably best to just shut up.  Better to be thought emotionally tone-deaf and callous than to open the blow hole and confirm it.

We all know that when we err we need to make amends as well as we can. We then need to let it go and ask for help in correcting the character flaw that led to the offensive behavior in the first place. Too often, however, in our insecurity we cling to these millstones, afraid to simply say, from the heart, “I am sorry.”

This blog will give $1 million to anyone who was genuinely hurt by the racist comments who feels genuinely better after reading this statement.

“We have heard the tape on TMZ. We do not know if it is legitimate or [if] it has been altered. We do know that the woman on the tape — who we believe released it to TMZ — is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would “get even.”

Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them. He is also upset and apologizes for sentiments attributed to him about Earvin [Magic] Johnson. He has long considered Magic a friend and has only the utmost respect and admiration for him — both in terms of who he is and what he has achieved. We are investigating this matter.”



About stephenomeara

My name is Jim Jordan. I have had the privilege of working with the Boston Police Department and hundreds more departments over my nearly 30-year career in police administration and city government. I am now teaching and consulting independently at I have learned the best of what I know from the thousands of smart, dedicated and ethical police personnel and scholars who have guided me along the way. My address is named for the great Reform commissioner of the Boston Police at the turn of the 20th century. Commissioner O'Meara died just a short while before the Strike in 1919. He was replaced by a vicious puppet (of Gov. Coolidge) named Edwin U. Curtis. Had O'Meara lived events may have turned out quite differently.
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