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Sorry I'm not sorry: 7 classic non-apologies

NEW YORK (AP) -- Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling only dug himself in deeper after slamming Magic Johnson when he was supposed to be atoning for his own racist remarks. But he's not the first celebrity to learn the perils of making a non-apology apology.

Sterling is facing fresh rebukes for repeatedly bringing up the former NBA star's HIV status and calling him an unfit role model during an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper. Communications experts say this was among the worst apologies ever.

"People should be watching this for a long time and understand what not to do in a television interview," says Steve Adubato, who teaches crisis communications at New York University.

Sterling made the classic mistake of dragging other people into a conversation that should have only been about him. An apology should be straightforward and sincere, not about what others may have done.

"The apology has to be absolutely genuine," says Amiso George, who teaches strategic communication at Texas Christian University Texas. "It has to be from the heart. Not something that the person has to do."

Here's a look at other public figures who failed to simply say "I'm sorry" and why it didn't work.


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Pat May 14 2014 at 4:10 PM

WHAT <>? does ge have to say I am sorry for he said nothin wrong about his team or coach he did say somethin about " MAGIC " who was a ***** master and got AIDS VIRUS <>? and as for his girl friend he has a right to tell her he don't like her black friend <>? YOU PEOPLE GET A LIFE JUST BECAUSE WE GOT A 1/2 BLACK PRESIDANT WHO WAS NOT EVEN BORN HERE AND IS JUST ANOTHER LOW LIFE we need to address to the millions he gave phones to and food stamps and not a guy who has a right to say its his team and no one elses <>? YOU NEED TO SMARTEN UP GOD HELP THIS POOR COUNTRY

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sardukar83 May 14 2014 at 3:36 PM

It looka like the guy has dimentia ....hes 80 at any rate....hes obviously not goiung to be allowed to run the team or attend any NBA events...its starting to look like a hatchet job by a bloodthirsty media.....lets move on....the way he was recorded in his own home is dubious at best ....id venture that none of us would like to have our remarks made public that we made in the supposed privacy of our own homes...the ends dont justify the means ...sorry ....

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Frank May 14 2014 at 3:35 PM


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3 replies
rjtst May 14 2014 at 3:33 PM

A lot of noise about nothing.

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2 replies
perfectpatsy rjtst May 14 2014 at 3:46 PM

You got that right

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mizliz11 rjtst May 14 2014 at 6:49 PM

They're called unnecessary distractions

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Hi May 14 2014 at 3:30 PM

Anyone that ever called anyone a name should not have cast a stone, what is the use in saying you're sorry if you do not mean it. I think they all should reflect NBA on this matter.

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Ragman May 14 2014 at 3:29 PM

Have those BLACK punks apologized for killing those World War (white Vets) yet (senior citizens)? Has Jesse Jackson apologize for calling NYC Hymietown? Has Al Sharpton apologized for the Tawana Brawley incident, accusing white people of doing the crime when they didn't? Has Charles Barkley apologized for saying he hated White People? Has the NAACP apologized for taking Sterling's money all those years even though it was said he was a racist? Why would the NAACP accept money from a racist?

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3 replies
Joycene May 14 2014 at 3:28 PM

Almost worse are the comments Sterling made that he "gives" clothes, cars, houses, etc. to the players on his team. No one else gives them these things, he says. In reality he doesn't "give" them anything. He hires the players, they work hard for him and for the team, and he pays them well. This is another part of Sterling's plantation mentality. He owns his "slaves" and gives them a place to sleep and food, and apparently for that he feels they should be grateful. No, Mr. Sterling, they work for that money. You don't give them anything. It's called a day's work for a day's pay.

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3 replies
Mac May 14 2014 at 3:25 PM

When is Sterling supposed to be arrested ? Where in the criminal code does it spell out his crime ? Is this a Federal or state law he broke ? Hmmmm .... Me thinks the prisons would not be large enough to house all the criminals at large.

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cavline May 14 2014 at 3:22 PM

I'd like to hear what some of you people say when your in your home. I guess we would all be in trouble at one time or another. You can't blame a guy for what he believes. So some of you are saying he can't own a shoe business if he hates shoes. Dumm

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astrodigitalp25 May 14 2014 at 3:16 PM

While we're talking about apologies here we're's the one from Oprah Winfrey ?
Didn't she give an interview to the BBC where she said generations of older people just need to die ?
, Should she be banned from life from owning a media network as well ?
Where's the outrage ?

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1 reply
alans022 astrodigitalp25 May 14 2014 at 3:41 PM

I'm more outraged that she has two wives, Gayle and Stedman.

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