The fallout from Logan Tuley-Tillman's infamous decision to burn his recruiting letter from Ohio State keeps coming in, and as with all fallout, it's radioactive and terrible. The latest dim bulb to make his presence known and degrade the reputation of Ohio State and its fans is Harry Watson, who took to Twitter to jokingly put a bounty on Tuley-Tillman. Ha, ha, jokes!
Here's Watson's Tweet, captured by a re-Tweeter before Watson wisely deleted it:
This is an ugly, nasty thing to say regardless of whether it's a joke or not. We're not fans of political correctness around here, but we do know when someone's plumbing the depths of their conscience. To do so in the name of a sports rivalry is stupid. It's what idiots do. Do we need to talk about idiots again already?
Watson, to his credit, went to his website and wrote an apology to Tuley-Tillman, which is as follows:
Last night, I made some remarks that were meant to be a joke amongst friends. These remarks were regrettable and reprehensible. Today, I have been receiving attention from many individuals asking for my comment on these unfortunate remarks made by myself on my Twitter account last night. This is my official comment.
To Logan Tuley-Tillman – I am deeply sorry for making these remarks in your direction. I wish you nothing but the absolute best in your future as a collegiate athlete and more importantly as a student at the University of Michigan. My remarks were meant not to offend, but to highlight another unfortunate situation in the NFL bounty scandal. I realize now how short sighted and foolish my tweet was.
Ohio State University and the University of Michigan share the greatest rivalry in all of sports. The passion that I feel for my team is the same passion that Michigan fans feel for theirs. My passion for my alma mater is no excuse for my ridiculous behavior.
I ask for all of you to please excuse my remarks, and more importantly I ask for the forgiveness of Logan Tuley-Tillman. Best of luck to you in your endeavors in the classroom and on the football field.
Watson also pledged to use that $2000 as a donation to the University of Michigan and solicited ideas for where his money should go. One commenter suggested the Mott Children's Hospital; consider this a second to that proposal.
That pledge to the University of Michigan is the right thing to do, and the apology is the grown-up thing to do. That's good to see. It'd be better if he didn't have to make either in the first place, but he and he alone put himself in that position.
He cannot renege on either pledge; to do so puts all Ohio State fans in an even worse light, and as such it must be incumbent on fellow Buckeye fans to hold him to everything he said.
And lastly, though we do not doubt the sincerity of Watson's comments, this is as good a teachable moment as any as to what comprises an effective apology. "I am deeply sorry" is good. "I ask for all of you to please excuse my remarks" is good. "I hope that this donation will help to ease the pain of my unfortunate remarks" is really good.
What's not good is "my remarks were meant not to offend." This is a common refrain in official apologies--common enough that it's almost standard procedure--and it's absolutely slimy.
The rationale is, of course, "whoops, it was a mistake that I made people angry, that's not a thing I like!" But the message it really sends is, "my mindset is offensive to people without me even trying." That's not a sentiment that you should express while you're apologizing to someone.
This goes to all readers: the next time you have to apologize, don't talk about your rationale. Don't say you weren't trying to offend. Don't apologize "if anybody was offended." The sin isn't the offense of others, it's the crappy thing you said or did. Focus on that, and people will respect the apology.