The Top Nine Lamest Athlete Apologies

June 3, 2010

No group of over-idolized heroes has let their flock down more than athletes. Their inordinately large salaries, superstar status, and Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade balloon-sized egos have turned a lot of them into major league douchebags. Logic dictates that if so many of them have gotten into trouble that one of them would learn the proper method of delivering an apology, especially since all they had to do is really mean it. Here are the apologies that prove there is no crying in baseball (and other sports).

Source: New York Daily News/Getty Images

By Danny Gallagher


9. Alex Rodriguez

This Texas Ranger turned New York Yankee powerhouse has had the kind of sports life that all little leaguers dream about. He lives on a mountain of money that requires a Sherpa to reach the summit.  He dates attractive models and picture perfect movie stars. He is the modern day equivalent of a god, if divine beings gained their power by injecting a magic elixir directly into their holy bloodstreams.

When word surfaced that A-Rod had been downing the testoster-sauce, he admitted it but hid under the admission that he didn't know that the substance coursing through his body and making him stronger was steroids. It's the equivalent of trying to sneak a cookie out of the cookie jar before dinner and when your mother catches you bringing the disc of deliciousness to your lips, you tell her that you thought you were eating a rice cake.

Replace "rice cake" with happy strength juice and you've got A-Rod's "apology" in a nutshell. A nice, tidy, little nutshell that may or may not be filled with delicious anabolic steroids. We honestly don't know if it is or not.


8. Mark McGwire

Source: Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

It's hard to imagine the level of scrutiny and stomach-twisting nervousness that goes into admitting you were on the juice when you were American sports' darling. So a little credit is due to the home run king who submitted a teary-eyed "my bad" to his fans, his family, and Bud Selig (especially Selig, whose lifetime commissioner contract grants him the power to melt people with his mind).

But all that luscious credit drains away when he tries to weasel his way out of any responsibility for using 'roids to enhance his career. After wiping the tears and sadness snot from his face, the man with the Honey Baked Ham-sized biceps said that the steroids didn't enhance his ability to hit home runs and the real reason he took steroids was to heal his aging body.

Not only does he squirm his way out of what he believes to be an obvious lapse in ethics and judgment but he turns it around by saying that the same actions were actually meant to help him. It's the first time a major league athlete has done a public service announcement that encourages kids to use drugs. He could have accomplished the same means by staring into the camera and uttering, "Hey kids! Don't believe what you're parents and Nancy Reagan have told you about drugs! Take it from me, Mark McGwire: steroids - it does a body good." (This message was brought to you by the Partnership for Free Drugs, America.)"

7. Randy Moss

Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Very few sports egos have been able to match the one that rests in this former Minnesota Viking wide receiver's soul. That just makes his attempt to admit to his mistakes and apologize twice as unintentionally hilarious as a Dan Quayle Toastmasters session.

Moss reached his evil peak of infamy when he fake-mooned Green Bay fans during a playoff game in 2005. The NFL slapped him with a $10,000 fine, the monetary equivalent of a "slap on the wrist" (if the slap was administered with a pool noodle and the wrist belonged to someone else).

He never technically offered a tearful "I'm sorry" or a even a slightly maudlin "My bad" for the cameras when the NFL disciplined him. His only technical admission of guilt was his uttering of this cocky quote for reporters that still makes the picture of George Washington on the dollar bill cry:




Speaking of football players with mouths so big that deep sea fisherman often mistake them for freshwater bass...

6. Tiger Woods

Source: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Unlike most of the major athletes on this list, Tiger didn't inject himself with strength training drugs or down pills that increased his concentration. He didn't engage in poor sportsmanship on the field or act like a spoiled child in the cereal aisle because his team didn't give him the gold plated hot tub specified in his contract. He cheated on his wife...well, a lot. If mathematics allowed you to calculate matrimonial sin into numbers, his would probably equal doing a keg stand-sized hit of anabolic steroids.

His first public response to the tragedy that toppled his image, his marriage, and his marriage to his wife (the first one referred to his sponsors) felt like it was delivered by a robotic android made to appear in Tiger Woods' absence. He read it in a creepy, monotone, non-dramatic voice with as much emotional inflection as an economics professor reading a lesson plan. It would have been more emotional if he let Ben Stein read it for him (and a lot more entertaining, now that I think of it).

5. Marion Jones

Source: New York Daily News/Getty Images

If you're a celebrity or an athlete who has been disgraced by your human urges or tendencies and you want to make the most heartfelt apology ever, everyone and their momma knows you go to Oprah Winfrey. Oprah's estrogen-enhanced afternoon gabfest is a weepy star bug zapper. They are lured in by the warm glow of Oprah's embrace and are immediately shocked after the actual interview goes out on the air.

This former Olympic medal winner did just that when she got out of prison for lying to federal prosecutors about her strength enhancing drug use. In fact, it was her first stop on her "Monsters of Maudlin Me-So-Sorry" tour.

So what was her excuse for her naughty behavior? She told Oprah "because I didn't love myself enough." That's right, Jones found the root cause of substance abuse that billions of dollars of research and drug prevention programs missed: a lack of self-hugs. So does that mean we can replace every drug rehabilitation center and substance abuse program with kissing booths?


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4. Tonya Harding

Source: CRAIG STRONG/AFP/Getty Images

This former Olympic hopeful did something that few that could be possible in the world of athletic competition: make figure skating exciting.

Her ruthless and selfish actions to cut the competition out of her path to bloodstained glory prompted an outrage among people who gave a crap about figure skating for reasons other than the skimpy outfits. Naturally, Harding offered a public statement about her actions, a prepared statement so rote and dry it made Tiger Woods' admission sound like a Richard Simmons' declaration of "fabulousness."

And after admitting that she almost singlehandedly tried to introduce cross-checking into figure skating, she had the balls (no one had the guts to confirm if those balls were metaphorical or physical) to announce that she still wanted to compete in the Olympic Games! That only should have been acceptable if her intention was to join the U.S. hockey team.


3. Rafael Palmeiro

Source: Chris Maddaloni/CQ-Roll Call Group/Getty Images

It's one thing to deny rumors of malfeasance or mindless gossip. It's another to deny complete facts and scientific proof. And no, I'm not talking about global warming or the Texas textbook review committee.

This heavy hitter had the gumption to point his finger at a Congressional Committee and proclaim that he had never done steroids in his life "period." Then later everyone discovered that he had done steroids in his life, question mark, exclamation point, question mark.

When confronted with the news, he apologized for the harm he caused but never actually admitted to doing anything wrong or even mentioned the noun or the verb that caused all the harm and heartache. So just for the sake of breaking this down, he apologized but didn't admit to anything and that includes the thing that he was apologizing for in the first place. Then somewhere, completely out of habit, a restful Drew Rosenhaus yelled back at his TV, "Next question."

2. Pete Rose

Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

When it comes to turning unauthentic apologies into opportunistic grabs for cash, Pete Rose wrote the book on it...literally. (insert your own sad "wah, wah, wah" trombone here)

Everyone and their mother (and that includes Rose's mother) suspected the former Cincinnati Red of betting on baseball as he was playing the game. He finally admitted to the thing everybody knew in 2004 and apologized for the harm it caused. Actually, he didn't offer his apology to everyone. They could accept it by buying the new book he wrote detailing his misdeeds and how sorry he truly was for committing them. It's the same as charging people to read a suicide note.

The moment made every mildly amused baseball fan wish they could pick up the pudgy opportunist and slam his mulch-modeled haircut directly into the floor in the hopes of causing some kind of severe spinal injury. Rose not only let his fans watch that exact activity on a Wrestlemania special, but he probably also charged them $79 a seat and a $15 viewing charge just to look in his general direction.

1. Jose Canseco

Source: Chris Maddaloni/CQ-Roll Call Group/Getty Images

Believe it or not, one of the biggest bastards in sports history has stepped forward and offered a sincere apology for his misdeeds and bad doings. He took it back almost immediately, but it's like getting a discount store sweater for Christmas. It's the thought that counts, no matter how short the amount of time was that the actual thought lasted.

Canseco outed just about every major league hitter as a doper and a juicer in his 2005 tell-all "Juiced". The book was ridiculously scandalous and did more to fuel the fires of innuendo and suspicion about doping in Major League Baseball since the BALCO grand jury testimonies went public the previous year. It brought down so many big names that Canseco actually apologized for writing the book and admitted his intentions were driven more by his personal vendettas than a sense of justice and fairness in sports.

Of course, that sense of regret and personal emotional breakthrough was smashed to tiny pieces with a ball-peen hammer when Canseco brazenly cackled that the MLB, the players, the employees, and the guy who puts the cheese on the $7 nachos owed him an apology for the way he had been treated during and after his baseball career. The worst part is he did it through his attorney.

Oh, I wish apologies came with receipts because I really would have liked to trade that one in for a new Xbox.


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