There was a time when someone could apologize to wash away the thoughts of any wrong doing. Those times are long gone.
The Los Angeles Clippers’ Lamar Odom should have got the memo before he apologizes to Mark Cuban about his poor play last season with the Dallas Mavericks. Let’s look at the proof of why saying sorry can be null and void.
Kobe Bryant cried in a press conference as he apologized for his crazy night in Denver. No one gave him credit for the apology and people still thought he was a monster — even though a court of law ruled not guilty — until he took the Los Angeles Lakers to two NBA Championships.
Former-WWE employee AW didn’t forget about it when he tried to make fun of Bryant on live TV two months ago. He was fired from the WWE, but he proved, people remember and don’t forgive.
Bryant’s situation was off the court, so let’s look at some examples of apologies for on-court ordeals.
Dwight Howard recently thanked and apologized to the Orlando Magic fans after his free agent extravaganza got him shipped to the Lakers.
The Florida citizens wishing someone would buy their Howard jerseys are not going to be happy or forgiving for a very long time for Howard yanking the Magic’s chain in every possible direction. The same could be said about how the Magic handled the situation, but since we see Howard’s face regularly, he is the most recognizable to place blame. Remember when Shaquille O’Neal did the same thing to the same organization? You might not, but everyone was quick to call Howard, Shaq-like, as he did the exact same thing.
This is a perfect seg-way to my media argument.
Apologies not meaning what they used to could be because of the always listening and watching media. Take your pick, there is: Mike and Mike, Dan Patrick, Yahoo! sports, Scott Van Pelt, Skip Bayless, Woody Paige, Stephen A. Smith, CBS Sports, New York Times, Chicago News Tribune and countless blogs such as this one that are waiting for a story of something or someone to exploit.
With the constant reminder of what an athlete did — whether it is 15-minutes after it happened, every time a player is in a game, in a week, or 10-years later when a different athlete does the same thing or it’s read about in an online article — it will not be forgotten. If Odom wins a championship with a different franchise before he retires, one of the first comments brought up is how he went from not playing in Dallas, to giving his all to another NBA team.
We also have to remember, the NBA is a business. If a player never produces – they don’t start and don’t get paid. If a general manager or coach doesn’t make the right decisions and put a winning team together – they get fired. If expectations are not met or success isn’t an option — decisions are made to change the situation.
Odom went to the Mavericks and scored 6.6 points per game, which was the lowest of his 13-year career. Yes, he performed horribly but he felt the consequences.
The Dallas Mavericks benched him at first and then didn’t even want him on the sideline. Instead of waiving him and letting him sign with a team Odom felt better with, the Mavs kept him around to trade him after the season was over. This means Odom, a professional basketball player, wasn’t allowed to play the game he’s been playing his entire life because of his poor efforts during the season.
He benched and traded because of his poor play; a consequence for the action. Why does he need to say sorry?
Let’s put it this way, if a player does perform well and Mavericks’ owner Cuban trades him to another team using him as trade bait, does Cuban say sorry? Does he extend a hand and say, “sorry man, I messed up?” Of course he doesn’t. He cuts his loses and counts what he’s gained.
In this case, Dallas gained the draft rights to Tadija Dragecevic and cash in the four-team trade Odom was dealt in. Ordinarily, the Mavericks would have been the loser because of the kind of player Odom can be, but they got rid of a bad situation that was hurting the team and brought in draft rights to a player they can trade for other players and cash. Who doesn’t love cash?
The NBA is a business, not a school yard game where kids tell their best friends sorry for missing a shot or dropping a pass. In the pros, you shake it off, pick up your head and produce instead of talking.
Odom is never going to be forgiven by the Mavericks or Dallas fans, but he definitely has a chance to restructure his legacy by being a productive player as a Clipper. There is no reason to say sorry to Cuban because the Dallas bridge is already broken; go play a high level of ball on another team to build a stronger bridge.