Former baseball player Jerry Remy, the longtime announcer for the Boston Red Sox, stepped in it this week when he said non-English-speaking ballplayers shouldn’t be allowed to have a translator.
One-third of baseball players in Major League Baseball do not speak English as a first language.
“A better question is: ‘Why aren’t you bilingual?'” an ESPN panelist said.
Remy issued the classic non-apology apology at mid-week.
“I sincerely apologize to those who were offended by my comments during the telecast last night,” he said in his statement, which gave no indication whether he realized why it was offensive.
This has already been a big month for apologies.
Bill Maher dropped the “N bomb” then said later it was “just a joke,” adding he regretted using the word.
Greg Gianforte, who won a congressional seat after attacking a reporter who had the temerity to ask a good question, apologized for lying about the incident, but not until after he won his special election. Then he was hit with a wave of contrition.
All of them escaped unscathed despite their crimes. Except for one: Kathy Griffin, the comedian who was photographed holding the bloodied head of a Donald Trump character.
She issued a quick apology that wasn’t phony, accepted responsibility and lost her job.
“What does a person have to do to be punished?” Boston Globe columnist Renee Graham writes today. “Oh, that’s right: be a woman.”
Griffin was straightforward. She admitted fault, blaming no one but herself. Yet she’s also being punished more severely than Remy, Maher, and Gianforte combined. CNN dumped her from a decade-long gig co-hosting its New Year’s Eve show with Anderson Cooper. (A longtime pal, Cooper tweeted that he was “appalled” and found the photo “clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.”) She was widely denounced, most boisterously by Trump himself, investigated by the Secret Service, and had a bunch of upcoming stand-up performances canceled.
Griffin’s Emmy-winning career will be in tatters for a while, if it ever recovers at all. Whether or not you like Griffin’s acerbic brand of comedy (for the record, I do not), she didn’t physically assault anyone like Gianforte did. Unlike Maher, she did not spew one of the most hateful words in the English language and attempt to pass it off as a “banter.” And she did not make a bigoted statement, then issue an apology without acknowledging the offensiveness of that statement, which is what Remy did twice.
As usual, a woman is being held to an absurd standard, even though her apology is the only one that was timely, showed contrition, and claimed personal responsibility. She got it right, but will continue to suffer because she wasn’t smart enough to insult journalists, immigrants, or African-Americans — groups whose feelings, apparently, can be casually dismissed. Unlike Remy, Maher, or Gianforte, Griffin’s misfortune is being a woman who mocked a would-be despot intent on intimidating any opposition, whether it comes in the form of protests, legislative inquiry, media reports, or a tasteless provocation.
And for that, we should all be sorry.