10 Extremely Awkward Apologies In Sports History
1. Steve Coburn
When California Chrome failed to win the third race in the quest for the Triple Crown, its owner Steve Coburn went on a cringe-worthy tirade of epic proportions ripping fellow owners and trainers who don’t run their horses in all three legs.
You can blame it on the heat of the moment – but he didn’t exactly back down the next day when he compared the loss to a handicapped child playing basketball. His weepy apology two days later didn’t disappoint in the histrionics department and left viewers wondering how he really feels.
Here are some other notable awkward apologies from the world of sports.
2. Donald Sterling
The NBA banned Donald Sterling for life after an audiotape containing a racist rant at his then girlfriend V. Stiviano was leaked to the press. Sterling sat down with Anderson Cooper to apologize but instead vacillated between claiming he wasn’t a racist and slamming Magic Johnson’s character – even criticizing him for having HIV. Yep. awkward.
3. Lance Armstrong
Come on, admit it, you hated Lance Armstrong just a little more after his television mea culpa interview with Oprah Winfrey. For starters what heartfelt apology needs a two-parter? I’ll tell you. One that was less about saying sorry to those he hurt by doping and more about highlighting how talented he was at lying and cheating. Does it get anymore self-absorbed than that?
4. Tiger Woods
Ah, this one is a classic. Who would have thought life could get any worse for Tiger Woods when he crashed his Cadillac after a reported late night fight with his then wife Elin Nordegren? Oh, but they did. Three long months and dozens of alleged mistresses later Woods was “apologizing” from a podium while members of the media were whisked into a hotel room to watch it – not live—but on video. Although he did eventually mention disappointing his family, Woods started the PR spin by apologizing to his business partners. Woods also complained about the all the unfair media attention he was receiving.
Funny, he wasn’t complaining about being in the limelight when he was benefitting from it. Name me one part of that press conference that wasn’t uncomfortable, huh?
5. Mike Tyson
How can it be anything but awkward when you are apologizing for biting off someone’s ear? But Evander Holyfield forgave Mike Tyson and they even starred in a hilarious television ad for Foot Locker mocking the brutal boxing ring incident.
6. Kobe Bryant
It’s awkward enough to defend yourself against an alleged case of sexual assault. It’s even tougher when you have to admit to your wife you actually had sex with the woman making the accusation. “I didn’t force her to do anything against her will. I’m innocent,” Kobe told reporters. He then called his wife Vanessa his ‘”backbone” and proclaimed “I’m sorry for having put our family through this.”
We all know the real apology came in the form of that 8-carat diamond ring she was rocking at the press conference.
7. Alex Rodriguez
Before the start of the 2009 MLB season, and on the cusp of a book being released claiming the slugger failed a drug test in 2003, Alex Rodriguez called a press conference to admit his dalliance with PED’s and blamed it on his youth, claiming “deep regret” for taking a banned substance. But is one really sorry if they continue to do what they apologized for? The aging superstar is currently serving a 162-game suspension for his involvement in the “Biogenesis” scandal.
8. Marion Jones
Much like Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones adamantly denied using performance-enhancing drugs, at first. She finally admitted to her transgressions and lying to the Feds. She was stripped of all five medals she won in the 2000 Summer Olympic games and went to jail. Jones publicly asked for forgiveness… but still maintains she never knowingly used illegal performance enhancers.
Wait, what? Which is it? And are you really sorry if you just lie until you can’t possibly get away with it anymore?
9. Tonya Harding
“I would like to apologize again for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and with the wrong people,” the disgraced figure skater said to Nancy Kerrigan. That sort-of apology finally happened in 1998, four years after Harding’s ex-husband clubbed Kerrigan’s knee. Kerrigan sort-of forgave her. Today, Harding claims she too was a victim of the attack by losing everything and still maintains she did not know the assault was planned.
10. Ozzy Guillen
When Ozzie Guillen was the Manager of the Miami Marlins, the notorious windbag managed to insult the entire city when he was quoted in Time Magazine saying he respected Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Never mind the quote was kind of taken out of context, Guillen was forced to publicly apologize and openly vilify the dictator. He was also suspended for five games.
Who did I forget? Let me know e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a Tweet @TaraLipinsky.