Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Laura Schlessinger’

LeBron James makes a phantom apology for breaking hearts in Cleveland

May 16, 2011

Basketball superstar LeBron James broke new ground last week with an original kind of non-apology. Let’s call it a phantom apology, apologizing for a non-offense instead of for the real offense.

James left the Cleveland Cavaliers after last season to join two other superstars on the Miami Heat. No problem with that: he was a free agent. But he did it in a particularly ugly way that was gratuitously hurtful to his fans in Cleveland. The hurt damaged his image with fans everywhere.

Last Wednesday James led his new team to a victory in the quarter-final series of the playoffs over the Boston Celtics, the team that had knocked out his old team (the Cavaliers) last year. In the flush of victory he tried to repair his image. But a real apology would have admitted he did wrong. So James came up with the phantom apology.

Instead of apologizing for the ugly hurt he had caused, he semi-apologized for jumping to Miami—an act that was entirely honorable and ethical. Semi-, because he went on to explain that his move was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to get past the Celtics and compete for the championship, His entire statement is here.

So James gets credit for apologizing without accepting blame for what he did.

But no credit from EthicsBob: that’s not a real apology.

A real apology is (more…)

Dr. Laura Schlessinger teaches us how to apologize

August 17, 2010

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is ending her radio show at the end of the year, nudged along by the furor over her repeated use of the “n-word” in a conversation with a caller. Dr. Laura repeated the word six or seven times, not in a racist way, but in a complaint about a double standard whereby black comics can use it ad nauseum, but it’s off limits to whites.

In the conversation Dr. Laura spoke disrespectfully and hurtfully to the caller, who, after all, called in for some consoling and advice. The next day Dr. Laura taught us all a lesson about apologizing. Not a Category 1 (defiant) apology: “I’m sorry if you think I did something wrong.” Not a Category 2 (evasive) apology: “I may have made an innocent mistake, and I’m sorry for it—if I actually did it.”

No, Dr. Laura issued an all-out Category 3 apology that’s so rare in public life:

“I talk every day about doing the right thing. And yesterday, I did the wrong thing. I didn’t intend to hurt people, but I did. And that makes it the wrong thing to have done.

“I was attempting to make a philosophical point, and I articulated the “n” word all the way out – more than one time. And that was wrong. I’ll say it again – that was wrong. (more…)