Most apologies are fake.
In society, they’ve become a tool of formality instead of instruments of true regret and remorse. People don’t really mean the words, “I’m sorry,” they just say them because it’s expected.
And at this moment, it feels like every day a new league, coach, athlete, corporation, or a representative from white America is apologizing for something. As if Black people should be grateful for their regret, 400 years after the fact.
In the sports world, Oklahoma State Football coach Mike Gundy has taken this concept to the next level. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees can rest easy now, as Gundy has taken up the mantle of being the “sorriest” white man on Earth.
It all started on Monday, when Gundy released an apology video, in which he didn’t apologize, after star running back Chuba Hubbard called his coach out on social media because Gundy was wearing a One America News (OAN) shirt in a picture. The network is pro-Trump and has a history of pushing conspiracy theories.
“In light of today’s tweet with the T-shirt I was wearing, I met with some players and realized it’s a very sensitive issue with what’s going on in today’s society,” Gundy said in the video. “We had a great meeting and made aware of some things players feel like that can make our organization and our culture even better than it is here at Oklahoma State.
“I’m looking forward to making some changes, and it starts at the top with me. And we’ve got good days ahead.”
However, Gundy was singing a different tune just a few months ago.
“I tell you what’s funny is, I was flipping through stations. I found one – I don’t even know if anybody knows about this – it’s called OAN. It’s One America News. And it was so refreshing,” said Gundy back in April, unprompted, on a conference call about the network that has people on it that have labeled the Black Lives Matter movement as a farce, and said that the 75-year-old white man that had his skull fractured by police in Buffalo, deserved it.
“They just report the news. There’s no commentary,” he continued. “There’s no opinions on this. There’s no left. There’s no right. They just reported the news. And I’ve been watching them the last week, because they’re given us the news and given us more information – in my opinion – some of the positives are coming out. So, that was refreshing.”
By Tuesday, Gundy was on video number two.
“I want to apologize to all members of our team, former players and their families for the pain and discomfort that has been caused over the last two days,” said Gundy with a pathetic look on his face. “Black lives matter to me. Our players matter to me.”
Oh, so now the players matter?
Less than three months ago, it was Gundy who was trying to get players back on campus during the height of the coronavirus pandemic because he believed that “a lot of them can fight it off with their natural body,” because he thought football would help the state’s economy.
People like Gundy are why apologies so often feel empty. It was the same thing with Brees and Goodell, just like it is with Starbucks’ back-and-forth tolerance of Black people, or how we’re expected to believe the apologies from the police, even when they lie about having diarrhea and try to blame it on Shake Shack.
Being Black in America is to be exhausted at all times, while also being expected to endure and acknowledge apologies from a country that has done nothing but try to belittle and break us at every turn since its creation.
So, please, save your apologies. Show us that you mean it instead of telling us about it.
Don’t be sorry, be better.