It's a sad fact that sports people tend to get into a lot of trouble. Examples are athletes making offensive
or politically incorrect remarks, college coaches nailed for recruiting violations, television announcers caught in
embarrassing sexual situations, baseball players failing drug tests,
and NFL players getting arrested for various sordid felonies.
If the incriminating evidence is so overwhelming that the nasty event cannot be ignored or denied,
a public statement must be given. This can be via an appointed representative such as a lawyer, but often
the perpetrator faces the media directly. The first thing you are likely to hear is one of these:
My comments were taken out of context.
I did not knowingly or intentionally take banned substances.
I know deep in my heart I've done nothing wrong.
It's just Terrell being Terrell.
This is an unfortunate incident.
Mistakes were made.
It sounds a lot nicer to say you've made a mistake than to admit you were caught doing an evil deed.
A mistake has a very innocent connotation about it: "I was just adding this column of numbers and wouldn't you know it -- I made a mistake!"
When someone gets caught red-handed breaking the rules, you'll usually hear something like:
The desire to win clouded our judgement.
Over-exuberance affected our better judgement.
The implication is: "Deep down we're good people, but in our relentless pursuit of excellence it's only natural that we're going to cheat. You know, it's just human nature. How can anyone be blamed for that?"
If that excuse won't fly, then they're really in the damage-control mode. The standard spin is:
There was an error in judgement.
There was a lapse in judgement.
The impression conveyed here is that the offender was thoughtfully contemplating a course of action,
rendered some sort of honest judgement about what to do, but that decision later proves to be an "error". That
sounds so much better than "I got busted." And just how long is a lapse? Our dictionary defines lapse
as "a minor or temporary failure; a slip". For many people, those silly "lapses in judgement" can last for months,
even years. Which makes us ask: did these cliches originate in sports