Frank Mulligan: Sorry seems to be the hardest word
Like Japanese poetry, statements made by celebrity sports figures following sex-scandal revelations have a format governed by rigid rules.
A cynic might even be tempted to believe that these heartfelt speeches are not the work of the celebrity alone.
In that spirit, here’s a generic “statement” that comes closer to the originals than my attempts at Haiku:
"I would like to thank each and every one of you here today in advance for listening to my statement and for doing me the courtesy of not following it up with any questions.
"I would also like to thank the authorities who have done such a wonderful job in choosing not to prosecute me.
"From day one, I’ve cooperated with the authorities in every manner in which I’ve been legally obligated.
"This recent time period has been very difficult for my family, my friends, the families of my friends, as well as the friends of my friends’ families.
"I am truly and sincerely and thoroughly sorry for the pain that they have experienced due to the actions that I will not discuss in any detail today or moving forward.
"I would also like to extend my earnest apology to all who have been troubled by my actions, most notably those of my actions that are prosecutable.
"As I move forward, I will work harder not to make the kinds of bad decisions that can be caught on videotape or witnessed by others.
"Believe me, I’m through with those kinds of bad decisions.
"I’ve apologized to members of my family every day since the first allegations came to light. I’ve proceeded to continue to apologize every day to the members of my family, whom I love very deeply, as all the subsequent allegations have come to light.
"As I’ve apologized all these numerous times, I’ve come to know the value of loving your family members through the gift of apologizing to them over and over again.
"Please, spare them any additional pain by continuing to harp over any new allegations that might - for the sake of argument - come to light.
"They’ve been through so much, and frankly, I’m running out of enough time in the day to apologize for each of my terrible lapses in judgment that I now realize were totally abhorrent, wrong and not in keeping with the character I wish to project to all of you here in this room, my family and friends, corporate sponsors, and the commissioner.
"Finally, I would like to pledge to my fans that I will redouble my efforts to win on the field of play and make you all truly proud once again to buy merchandise associated with my name.
"Penultimately, I am deeply, truly and utterly regretful for the negativity that has been associated with both proven and unproven accusations against me.
"Lastly, I thank you all once again.
"My prayers continue to be with me."
Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England’s Raynham, Mass., office, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.