Call this the season for apologies: we’ve gotten two big “I’m sorrys” from two high-profile athletes.
"To all the kids who looked up to me, I'm truly sorry for letting you down, but I hope it's helped you learn that one bad decision can turn your dream into a nightmare," said Rice, the onetime star running back for the Baltimore Ravens. "There is no excuse for domestic violence, and I apologize for the horrible mistake I made.”
Rice asked for forgiveness, and even the most hardened heart should forgive him. No doubt, he did step far outside the lines when he knocked his then-girlfriend unconscious inside a casino elevator. But Rice has always seemed like a man who understood his wrong.
Rodriguez, however, never has, which makes it hard to forgive him. He knows that all too well.
"I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point,” Rodriuez wrote in his apology. “I understand why and that's on me.”
Unlike Rice, A-Rod — or is it “A-Roid” — has spent his entire pro career taking advantage of his celebrity. We came to accept his smug, public arrogance when he was winning MVP awards and knocking baseballs out of ballparks at a record pace.
But that home-run hitting Rodriguez doesn’t exist anymore, even though the New York Yankees pay him as if he were that same ballplayer. He has betrayed people’s trust for so long that you know he apologized only to spruce up his tarnished image, trying to salvage what’s left of a career that bordered on brilliant.
Every man will have his day of reckoning, and for some men, their day comes sooner than it does for others. It took A-Rod, the serial steroids abuser, a decade to reach that day.
Now, we know for certain that the man’s handwritten apology was as vapid and as empty as the latter part of his career has been.
Maybe we’ll figure out one day what drove Alex Rodriguez. Was it the money? Was it the adulation? Could it have been something else that we’ve not even given a thought?
For Rice, the reason might be easier to discern. Sure, he’s sorry for what he did; who wouldn’t be when his wrong got caught on camera? But I suspect the real reason might be money — cold, hard U.S. greenbacks.
He hasn’t made close to $500 million as A-Rod did to play a sport, so Rice must realize that, at 28, time is ticking on his earning power. He can’t afford to not play another NFL season — or even a part of an NFL season. So if an “I’m sorry” makes him employable again, he’ll offer his.
“I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me,” Ray Rice said the other day. “And I hope to make a positive difference in people's lives by raising awareness of this issue."
As for Rodriguez, his apology did nothing for the public’s good, aside from reminding everybody how self-absorbed and pathetic athletes like him too often can be.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)