Liverpool's Luis Suarez And The Rise Of The Non-Apology
When did people stop apologising? Or, to be more specific, when did people who are clearly in the wrong start making non-apologies? Apologies these days sound like something a child would say. And not just any child, the ***** ones who run riot in Waitrose. You know, the kind you'd 'accidentally' knee in the head if it wasn't so socially unacceptable.
Maybe it's the speed of the internet, or that a lot of people read headlines but not the entire story. But we've somehow got to the point where merely putting the word sorry into a statement makes it an apology, even when you're clearly anything but. Here are four examples of non-apologies, ranging from amateur to advanced.
Amateur: Eva Hoeke
Eva Hoeke was the editor of Dutch magazine Jackie, a magazine that, by all accounts had been trundling along in relative obscurity. Then they published an article about Rihanna's dress sense with the headline "ultimate n****b****". How no one thought this just might be inappropriate is beyond me. But it didn't stop there. Eva Hoeke then released a series of non-apologies before resigning, the first saying that "it was a bad joke" and that, while she apologises, there was no malice, nothing was wrong and no one was at fault.
Then when Rihanna herself twittered the editor, she issued another non-apology, saying that the words 'came from America', which apparently is reason alone for its usage. By that logic we should all be waterboarding each other while eating doughnuts at breakfast.
And to make matters worse her publisher, Yves Gijrath, did an interview taking back Eva's non-apologies - saying that he only sacked Hoeke because she didn't stand behind her article strongly enough. He then said that 'they had nothing to apologise for' and that they'd refuse to say sorry because 'they won't be silenced'. Who'd think that there was anyone so committed to casual racism? I look forward to seeing Yves Gijrath being deified in misspelled EDL protest banners in the future.
Beginner: Sepp Blatter
Ah, good ol' Sepp. A man so crooked he could've been a boxing promoter in a past life, we can always rely on him to say something offensive. In fact it wasn't even surprising that FIFA put up a picture of him hugging a black man the day after he was accused of being racially insensitive. What was amazing was that his apology managed to praise his own 'fighting spirit' and say that he was 'still hurting' from reactions to what he said.
He did manage to admit that he said something 'which was not totally correct', which is one better than Eva Hoeke managed. He even added the word sorry, which is apparently enough to constitute an apology these days. Although that's dampened by the fact the full sentence is "I am sorry for all those people affected by my declarations", which isn't actually saying sorry. It's the Sainsbury's basics of apologies - just recognisable enough to resemble the real thing but actually nothing like it.
Suarez is also the only one to claim absolute and total innocence while non-apologising, sneaking in a sorry to the fans and his team-mates but not to Evra himself.
Intermediate: Luis Suarez
Now this is a proper, thorough, heartfelt non-apology. We know all about this case so I'm not going to bother going through the details, let's just focus on the apology. Like all non-apologists, Liverpool's Suarez mentions his feelings more than the people he offended, going on about how he's 'very upset' by the recent happenings. Suarez is also the only one to claim absolute and total innocence while non-apologising, sneaking in a sorry to the fans and his team-mates but not to Evra himself. A class act, by all means.
Advanced: Liam Fox
Get ready for a masterclass. This is the crème de la creme, the War and Peace, the Citizen Kane of non-apologies. We all know politicians are masters at this and this was just one example of why they hold the crown. Liam Fox brought his mate Adam Werritty out to a bunch of confidential meetings which, understandably, raised a few eyebrows. His non-apology raised even more. It's the sort of thing they'd show you in non-apology 101, if such a course existed.
He starts off his apology with 'I accept that it was a mistake', a great start. He also adds in the word sorry (a necessary word for a non-apology) but only for 'allowing distinctions to be blurred between my professional responsibilities and my personal loyalties to a friend'. Like most non-apologists, he spends most of the apology stating his innocence but, like the master he is, he takes it a few steps further. Rather than just repeating his innocence, he adds that he's 'learned lessons' and that he 'accepts' he should have done things differently. Which sounds suspiciously like the sort of thing a child who knocks over the eggs in Waitrose would say. All of which makes Liam Fox (or any MP apology, they're all the same) a master of non-apology. Take a bow Liam, you've earned it.
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