Gary Conkling Life Notes

Mostly whimsical reflections on life

#Non-Apology Watch

#Apology Watch was established to track the sincerity and follow-through of high-profile political and business leader apologies. Maybe we also need #Non-Apology Watch.

wolfeboro16n-3-webThere have been some striking, jaw-dropping and evidently sincere non-apologies recently. Some non-apologies are from people convinced they have no need to apologize. Some non-apologies are from people who can’t seem to figure out how to apologize.

If many apologies lack sincerity, then many non-apologies make up for it with an abundance of gall.

Take Robert Copeland, who until he resigned a few days ago was the 82-year-old police commissioner for Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. He was overheard in public referring to President Obama with the N-word. Rebukes were quick and broad. Resigned, but unfazed, Copeland said:

“I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the White House. For this, I do not apologize – he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”

Cliven BundyNevada rancher Cliven Bundy went from Fox News hero to an angry, racist old coot in a news cycle after opining that African-Americans were better off as slaves. This from a guy who was hailed as a “patriot” for refusing to knuckle under and pay grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management. Bundy was so unrepentant about his slavery comments that even Sean Hannity had to desert his ship.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham may face an unlikely opponent in his bid for re-election this fall in the person of former state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel. A multimillionaire land developer, Ravenel ran for office unsuccessfully several times until he captured the state treasurer’s job in 2006. He didn’t hold the job long, after his indictment on federal charges of cocaine possession with intent to distribute.

Ravenel insists he wasn’t selling cocaine, just offering it to friends. Despite those assurances, Governor Mark Sanford, before he took his trek along the Appalachian Trail, suspended Ravenel. Later, Ravenel entered into a plea deal to serve 10 months in prison and pay a $250,000 fine. He spent the last three months of his sentence under house arrest at his mother’s retirement home. As a candidate, Ravenel had called for an end to the war on drugs. He clearly meant it.

ravenelRavenel hitched his return to politics to a reality TV show, Southern Charm, in the role of a character constantly intoxicated and the father of a child with a younger woman who wasn’t his wife. Ravenel told reporters he believes the TV show is his path to political redemption. And a great excuse to reenact, not apologize for his prior transgressions.

Donald Sterling continues to amaze, as he creates an entire new category of non-apologies. Sterling was caught on tape oddly telling his girlfriend it’s okay to sleep with a black man, but not bring him to an LA Clippers game.

donald-sterling-magic-johnson-articleHis recorded comments unleashed an outpouring of outrage over not only what he said, but his not-so-secret history of racist behavior. Like any good NBA owner who had been ordered to sell his team and pay a fine because of his offensive views, Sterling decided to give an interview to straighten everything out.

Speaking with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Sterling made what amounted to a pseudo apology, saying he actually was the one wronged by a girlfriend he trusted but who betrayed him. Presumably by recording what he said and bringing  a black man to a game.

Then for good measure, Sterling lit into Magic Johnson, whom he called a good friend, but who he said had failed to do much for minorities and set a bad example because he carries HIV. What a great way to calm the waters of controversy by poking a stick at one of the most beloved sports heroes of our time. And what a great way to camouflage an apology.

We won’t have to worry about a lack of sincerity in sorry excuses on #Non-Apology Watch, just a lack of sanity.


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