Apologies are overrated

By Bryan Richardson

I understand that apologies are the right thing to say. If I stole your favorite CD, I’m supposed to apologize. You’re supposed to forgive me. The world keeps on spinning.

What if I don’t want to apologize? Apologies are just meaningless words if somebody doesn’t want to apologize, but we’re constantly asking for meaningless words.

As a society, we demand people show remorse for their wrongdoing, yet we never really consider if the person involved is actually sorry. The demand is based on an assumption that people must feel terrible about what they did.

Even the most sincere apology is somewhat worthless because it doesn’t reverse what happened.

If the situation is bad enough, the galaxy’s greatest apology isn’t going to help a person get back in people’s good graces. Yet, people still want to hear an apology.

I’ll use the most recent hall-of-shame inductee Ryan Braun as an example of the insanity.

Braun, a five-time All-Star for the Milwaukee Brewers, has been suspended by Major League Baseball for 65 games for using performance-enhancing drugs.

Anybody that knows anything about baseball knows his legacy’s fate is sealed. People tend not to like performance enhancing drugs for some reason. (Personally, I want more drugs in sports. Stop blocking science and let these athletes destroy the record books, I say.)

Generally, performance enhancing drugs usage makes a player’s numbers invalid. Braun’s 2011 National League MVP, MLB All-Star Game appearances, 1,156 hits, 211 home runs and 681 RBIs means absolutely nothing now. Nothing he can say will make those numbers mean anything.

He obviously took whatever he took because he felt it would help him achieve higher performance. He accomplished what he set out to accomplish besides the minor detail of not getting caught.

Why on Earth would anybody expect him to legitimately apologize? You can’t truly apologize for doing something you felt wasn’t wrong.

An apology is supposed to represent a change in mindset, which is hard for a lot of people to do.

That’s because empathy is underrated.

Think about this:

Wouldn’t it be worse to be right outside of heaven for eternity rather than going to hell?

Granted, the latter’s physical pain from the fire and whatnot can’t feel good. At least in the back of your mind you could justify that heaven might be overrated.

What if you were kept across the street from heaven? Every time the doors open to let somebody in, you see Bob Marley riding a giraffe and throwing gummy bears at the people as he performs with the Wailers. (Please insert your fantasy of heaven.)

That would hurt a little bit, right? Seeing all the awesomeness and wondering why you can’t be a part of it.

Well, that’s similar to how people from many groups feel in America for a variety of reasons.It’s different from a “grass is greener on the other side” situation. It’s not about perception. It’s clearly better on the other side.

There’s the unequal pay issue with women. There’s the continuing fight to legalize same-sex marriage. I imagine that citizens of another nationality don’t like having to prove they’re from here and that they’re somehow less American. Native Americans aren’t fond of the Washington Redskins still being called the Washington Redskins.

I’m not a big fan of being reminded that law enforcement and quasi-law enforcement officials can kill unarmed black men and beat the charges. I imagine that my dad, a Houston Police Department officer, would like to tell his son that race will never be a factor. He can’t tell me that.

People throw out the term “race card” or similar words when complaints are brought up these groups like it’s a game. Like people use it for pleasure. It’s not fun feeling like you don’t matter.

The thing that makes injustice so difficult to deal with is the privileged side can be seen by all, but the injustice isn’t as evident unless you experience it personally or have a sympathetic ear for others.

An apology without empathy is meaningless. Don’t give words. Give your heart.

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