“I fully recognize the seriousness of the situation involving my former teammate. And I regret that my actions appear to make light of that serious situation. I apologize to anyone who was offended by my actions.” - Maurkice Pouncey on Twitter, July 15th, 2013
Just one day after photos surfaced on the internet of Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey and his twin brother Mike wearing “Free Hernandez” hats during their twin birthday part bash, Maurkice found himself backpedaling from what was seen by many (if not most) as a pretty classless act. Not only were they sporting the hats, but as they appeared to be partying out of the Rob Gronkowski Guide To Getting Smashed, they looked even more foolish making a sentimental statement in that fashion.
For a man who takes responsibility for what happens on the football field in front of thousands of people week in and week out, he sure can easily shrug off any sort of sincerity in that apology. Kudos for the Pouncey’s to stand with a friend when faced with adversity – even when that adversity is suspect of murder. When everyone else is going…. no, sprinting in the other direction (why didn’t this happen to Ray Lewis in 2000?) – the NFL, the Patriots, fans, sponsors, and the Hall of Fame, the Pouncey’s show their support. Well, sort of. Their Hernandez ‘tribute’ is more of a mockery of the entire situation with their asshat like grins big and wide just below the real hats they donned on their heads. But don’t think that Maurkice backpedals on his support for his friend with that Twitter apology. He’s just sorry he showed it in such a poor manner.
So does the Twitter apology even matter? We know that someone from the Steelers organization ordered Pouncey to apologize. If you think he did it on his own, you might want to consider why and to what gain a 23 year old kid has in saying he’s sorry on his own volition. It’s just all a little too late in my eyes. It’s to save face and deflect as much criticism aside from what was already said in the 24 hours since the photos appeared. To not have put the hats on out in public at all would have been the better and right thing to do. Far be it from either one of them to feel that they are guilty from complicity in the situation, but there are and were better ways to say you support a person, a cause, etc. It was misguided and really detracts from what is taking place in the situation of Hernandez and the actual people involved.
Even the usually palpable Ron Cook said in his own commentary on Tuesday that on the day Hernandez was arrested back in June there was “a sigh of relief from Steelers headquarters. ‘Better the Patriots than us. Thank goodness we aren’t involved in such a sad, terrible story.’” Better no one, Ron. Need it be reminded that no matter the commentary that comes out of the Hernandez case that someone got the short end of the stick out of this whole deal – and that is Odin Lloyd. Who’s dead. I could care less what Cook thinks and what the Steelers think about Hernandez being arrested. At the end of the day – a man is dead. Period.
I guess the message that teams and coaches should be telling their players – no matter the sport – is this: Feel like going out there and making a statement in public? Don’t. Take five minutes, a few deep breaths, and then ask yourself if what you are about to do is the right thing and smart thing to do. If you still think yes, then call your coach. They’ll set you straight.
If it wasn’t the Pouncey’s it was going to be someone else doing something very similar. And two weeks from now, someone else in the NFL or NBA or MLB will do something incredibly stupid and offensive. And then a month after that, there will be another incident. And another and another and another. The cycle won’t stop, and we will continue as sports fans to be desensitized to the insensitivity and incivility that young athletes can’t seem to help themselves from. When will it end?
Which then begs the question. Does an apology even matter?