The Blog Squad

Friday, January 25, 2008

What Else Should I Be … All Apologies

Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman returned to work Thursday after being suspended for two weeks. She was disciplined after saying during the season-opening tournament that other PGA Tour players should take Tiger Woods and “lynch him in a back alley.”

Tilghman rightfully apologized to Woods, who acknowledged her mistake and said the issue was over. However, the Rev. Al Sharpton and members of other organizations called for Tilghman’s firing. Her words were predictably twisted, and the controversy spread like wildfire.

That’s when the Golf Channel stepped in and suspended its anchor.

Tilghman recorded another apology that was played at the top of a telecast Thursday.

“I’m Kelly Tilghman. It’s an honor to be with you again,” she said. “In a recent live broadcast, I used an inappropriate word that was offensive to many. Over the last two weeks, I’ve taken this time to reflect and truly understand the impact of what I said. While I did not intend to offend anyone, I understand why those words were hurtful. I am terribly sorry for any hurt that I’ve caused. I would like to express my deepest apologies.”

It’s my opinion that Tilghman did not have to apologize again. She definitely made a mistake and used poor judgment — hence the initial apology and subsequent suspension. That should have been enough.

I also don’t like how the most recent admission of guilt sounds so PR. Who talks like that anyway? If you are a public-relations professional, please tell me how this sort of language is beneficial?

I wonder if she were really allowed to apologize with her own words, what would they be? Maybe something like this?

“I made a terrible mistake, and I’m sorry. I tried to associate a posse of young guns on the PGA Tour taking down the most powerful man in town with a lynching. It was in poor taste. I know better. But never did offending African-Americans enter my mind. Tiger is my friend. I have infinite respect for him. I know and Tiger knows I’m not a racist. I’m very pissed off that anyone would imply that. You don’t know me. And stop trying to make me out to be a bad person. I’m not and neither are my employers. It’s over. Go away.”

Perhaps that kind of response would encourage the situation to last a little longer. But hell, Tilghman would probably feel better about herself.

Tilghman is not the first to read an apology crafted by some high-powered but clueless PR firms. It happens almost monthly in sports. An athlete gets in trouble and reads a statement. The press event is cold and really, does anyone ever heal from hearing a sterile apology?

The only genuine request for forgiveness I’ve heard in years is the one Michael Vick gave. More PR firms should study that moment and copy it. Vick appeared to speak from the heart, and I believed he truly was sorry for his actions. Not like he owed me an apology. But it was nice to learn that Vick was human like me.

Now another sports anchor is in trouble. ESPN’s Dana Jacobson apparently said something “inappropriate” about Notre Dame, Touchdown Jesus and Jesus while drunk at a roast. I believe the f-word was used often.

So what did the co-host of First Take on ESPN2 say in her apology?

“My remarks about Notre Dame were foolish and insensitive,” she said. “I respect all religions and did not mean anything derogatory by my poorly chosen words. I won’t make excuses for my behavior, but I do hope I can be forgiven for such a poor lack of judgment.”

Too bad she couldn’t just say, “I was drunk and words came out of my mouth that I thought were funny at the time. You people are so sensitive and judgmental. Get over yourself. But if you can’t, I’m sorry if I offended you.”

OUT AT HOME: I have good news and bad news. The good news is I’m taking a multivitamin every day now. The bad news is my diet is not working. I haven’t lost a single pound and still top the scales at over two bills.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: For all you sports bachelors out there — ninja shirt folding.


At Thu Jan 31, 01:53:00 AM EST, Anonymous Lee said...

Having studied PR in college, I can say making a statement after the initial incident can prove beneficial. In crisis communication ,you have to "tell it first, tell it fast and tell 'em (the public) what you are going to do about it.

The Golf Channel public relations team slipped up, however, by issuing the apology late. Everyone is calling them on it so the sincerity isn't there.


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