Have we become a society that is too quick to apologize?
After LSU smashed Arkansas 56-20 Saturday night in Tiger Stadium, Coach Ed Orgeron said that the Tigers were not going to celebrate beating the Razorbacks because “they haven’t beaten anybody in a long time.”
Coach O apologized saying that he did not intend to “demean” the football program at Arkansas.
The definition of “apology:”
Should Coach O have apologized?
The answer is “hell no!” What Coach O said was a legitimate comment about a weaker team that his Tigers crushed Saturday night in Baton Rouge. We seem to have become a society that in some cases to too quick to apologize for comments that do not deserve an apology.
There are those who refuse to apologize for inaccurate and outrageously insulting comments that deserve an apology, but that has always been the case. What seems to have changed is that we have become so sensitive that we are apologizing for things that are true or things we really mean to say. Why apologize for those comments?
Increasing demands for apologies for comments that some find offensive may be motivated by the sense of power one feels they derive from the reaction to the demand to apologize.
The First Amendment gives us the freedom to say things that might be offensive to others. That doesn’t mean anyone should purposely use that freedom to offend others; but in the process of saying what we believe, we always take the chance of saying something that is offensive to others.
Someone is offended by a comment and immediately feels a sense of power by demanding an apology. As a radio talk show host, I have been asked by listeners to apologize for comments that were taken out of context or comments that were offensive to them, and I have refused to apologize if what I said is true or if what I said is something I actually believe. And there were times that I understood that what I said did not reflect the truth or what I believe; and, in those cases, I was willing to apologize. There are times during a 3-hour live, unscripted radio talk show when I might make a mistake and say something I really should not have said, and I willingly apologize for those moments.
Consider the power someone must sense and the vicarious power felt by others listening when someone calls into a radio talk show and tells the host, “That comment you made was offensive and you need to apologize.” If the comment was accurate or if it reflected my true beliefs – then no – I do not need to apologize.
I don’t think more people are saying offensive things – I think more people are becoming too sensitive to everything in life and have somehow gained the impression that we are entitled to go through life without ever being offended and if we are offended - then that person making the comment needs to make it right by us by apologizing.
Be courteous – but if an apology is demanded for something that is true or represents your beliefs – why should you be quick to apologize?