I've been familiarizing myself with Dr. Aaron Lazare & his work on apologies this past week. Dr. Lazare is very insightful on the subject & raises many excellent points in his book, "On Apology."
I was also interested in what Bobby Knight had to say about Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari at Knight's induction into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame this past week.
"We've gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that's why I'm glad I'm not coaching. You see we've got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he's still coaching. I really don't understand that." Bobby Knight (referring to Calipari)
What I find most amusing is whether a person could have integrity without apologizing for the various transgressions they've committed. Just ask Tiger Woods that.
Here we have Knight critiquing Calipari's integrity (& believe me Calipari deserves it as you'll get a glimpse of that in a minute) despite the fact that he was not known for setting his mistakes right.
In the article Knight alludes to staying around at Indiana too long, that he was perhaps 'too strong-willed' to last there for life, but where does it say that being strong-willed is more foundational to integrity than apologizing when necessary?! Indeed being so strong-willed as to be unable to admit mistakes likely is the definition of pride!
Back to Calipari- while he was coaching the New Jersey Nets he criticized a local reporter named Dan Garcia, calling him a 'bleeping Mexican idiot.'
Calipari 'apologized' later saying,
"I would like to apologize to Dan Garcia for my ill-advised attempt at humor and insensitivity for the remark. In retrospect, I can understand how the remark could have been misinterpreted. I have apologized to him personally and in writing. In no way was my intent to be derogatory in a racial context, and I am sorry for any pain my remarks have caused."
'Ill advised attempt at humor'?! He swore at Garcia & insulted his ethnicity! 'Misinterpreted' remarks?! 'Not intended to be derogatory'?! Hello John. (I won't address the other issues that Bobby Knight brought up that caused two schools being put on probation while Calipari was at the helm. I don't think he's apologized for them either.)
All of this critique is easy to point to for some public figure (again see Tiger Woods example). Their dirty laundry sits out in the open waiting for us to go through it again & again over coffee with others or while we ponder life at the water cooler.
The harder task is when you & I dig deep into our own world & address our own apologies.
Are they non-existent because we're too strong-willed?
Are you overdue in making something right in your own relational world?
A true apology is among the most graceful and profound of all human exchanges. When it is sincere, it is not an end but a new beginning. Aaron Lazare
Here's to many new beginnings...