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The Perfect PoMo Apology

Like many other people, I was a little disturbed by the introduction to this week’s broadcast of Monday Night Football. If you happened to miss it, it featured the Eagle’s always-controversial receiver Terrell Owens and Nicollette Sheridan from the show Desperate Housewives. Sheridan was clad initially in a towel, but in an effort to persuade Owens not to take to the field but to instead spend time with her (hint hint), she soon dropped the towel and leapt into his arms. Owens made some comment about the team having to make do without him and that was that. It was provocative and was clearly lewd. It made many people upset. The NFL issued a statement saying that it was innappropriate for a broadcast and the network ABC has also subsequently apologized.

I was glad that my son wasn’t watching the game at that moment. While it was clearly inappropriate I can’t deny that there are far worse things to be seen on television – it’s just that football is usually family-friendly viewing.

The headlines on ESPN and today announced an apology by Owens. In my view it is the perfect postmodern apology:

“I felt like it was clean, the organization felt like it was a clean skit and I think it just really got taken out of context with a lot of people and I apologize for that,” Owens said. “Personally I didn’t think it would have offended anyone and, if it did, I apologize.”

I’ll interpret that.

“In my system of morality I tought it was clean. Other people, in their old-fashioned views which are no more or less correct may have seen it otherwise. If any of those old fashioned people are offended, I apologize to them. But I don’t think it should offend you because it doesn’t offend me. But if it did anyways, I apologize.”

Note to Owens: that is not an apology. That is, at best, an explanation. Heck, it might be a legitimate one – he had no moral qualms with doing the spot and willingly participated. His apology is just silly and it can’t possibly make anyone who was offended feel better. A true apology is premised on true remorse, and clearly Owens has none. And again, that doesn’t bother or surprise me. What bothers me is that he gives us this silly, meaningless apology.

If it wasn’t 5:00 PM on a Friday afternoon I would take the time to make a spiritual connection here, showing that repentance before God indicates both a turning towards (an apology) and a turning away (an admission of guilt). But I smell a roast cooking and I need to make sure my wife doesn’t overcook it.

For those of you who disappear for the weekends, enjoy your days off. For the rest, perhaps I can finish this up tomorrow!

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