On April 25 I wrote an editorial critical of the University of Georgia Athletic Department and Director of Athletics Greg McGarity in particular for paying actor, rapper, and entertainer Ludacris $65,000 for a 13-minute performance before their spring football game. In order to get Ludacris to sign a contract for the “gig” at UGA the university had to promise they would also provide a multiplicity of snacks, goods, alcoholic beverages, and condoms.
I wrote, “Pardon me, but that is one of the most flagrant wastes of money ever (federal government spending excluded), especially considering all the parents who have to sacrifice to educate their children at the University of Georgia and all the students who have to work two to three jobs to put themselves through school.”
However, on Thursday, May 26, the Athens Banner-Herald reported that Greg McGarity trumpeted the success of an SEC record spring game attendance at G-Day under first-year coach Kirby Smart, but also took a moment when addressing the UGA athletic board of directors for the first time since then to offer an apology.
McGarity confessed, “I do want to take this opportunity to apologize to our board for mistakes we made with certain aspects of the details of an entertainment agreement. Few things in my professional life have bothered me more than this situation. There are no reruns in life so we need to turn the page, learn from our mistakes, and do everything we can to make sure errors of this nature do not reoccur.”
Nothing is more difficult in life than having to say, “I’m sorry.” McGarity took responsibility and owned up to his mistake and apologized. I have nothing but respect for someone who will own up to his/her mistakes, errors, or sins. McGarity’s confession was good for the Dawg nation and no doubt good for him.
McGarity’s apology was good for me, because it eliminated a negative impression and created a positive one. For me it is always easier to pull for a team if you know the administration and coaches are attempting to instill not only team readiness and physical discipline, but also personal character and integrity. Confessing faults and seeking forgiveness is a part of character development.
However, some people find it difficult, if not impossible, to say, “I’m sorry.” I watched Megan Kelly of Fox News interview GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump earlier this month. She called him out for being a bully and making a variety of degrading remarks, some of which had been directed toward her, like calling her a “bimbo.” But Trump could not bring himself to saying, “I’m sorry.” Instead, he responded with a carefully worded and painfully awkward, “Excuse me.”
I dearly love my wife, but sometimes I do things that are not conducive to creating what should be a perpetual “honeymoon” atmosphere. Even though I know a sincere apology will restore the bliss of a happily married life, sometimes I find it hard to apologize. It is so self-abasing, so humiliating, so ego debilitating, so antithetical to pride and self-esteem and my stubborn self-will.
In 1970 the film Love Story, based on the Erich Segal novel, hit the screens of America’s theaters. The stars were Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal. The most notable line in the film –“Love means never having to say you’re sorry” – is spoke twice. However, to suggest that apologies are unnecessary in a loving relationship is … well, ludicrous.
It’s never wrong to admit you’re wrong and apologize. One website, “Science of Apologizing,” lists eight steps to a perfect apology:
- A detailed account of the situation
- Acknowledgement of the hurt or damaged done
- Taking responsibility for the situation
- Recognition of your role in the event
- A statement of regret
- Asking for forgiveness
- A promise it won’t happen again, and
- A form of restitution whenever possible.
Perhaps McGarity’s apology should inspire us all to say “ I’m sorry” whenever it is necessary. He has restored my faith in Bulldog football. However, their first game is the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic in the Georgia Dome against the North Carolina Tar Heels on September 3. UNC is a formidable opponent from my home state. That is a tough choice, but McGarity has made it easier for me to pull for the Dawgs.