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Chris Chase

'How not to apologize,' by Serena Williams

Chris Chase
Busted Racquet

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After she was levied a $10,500 fine earlier today, Serena Williams issued a statement through the USTA about her outburst in Saturday's U.S. Open semifinal against Kim Clijsters:

"Last night everyone could truly see the passion I have for my job. Now that I have had time to gain my composure, I can see that while I don't agree with the unfair line call, in the heat of battle I let my passion and emotion get the better of me and as a result handled the situation poorly. I would like to thank my fans and supporters for understanding that I am human and I look forward to continuing the journey, both professionally and personally, with you all as I move forward and grow from this experience."

Is that supposed to be an apology? Aren't the words "I'm" and "sorry" usually necessary in such things? This is nothing but another excuse, which is no accident. If Serena was sorry, she'd have said she was sorry. Since she didn't, we can only assume she's not.

The line about saying she "handled the situation poorly" is like saying that the weather in New York on Friday "wasn't ideal." There was no handling of the situation. It was more like a throttling.

Serena mentions "passion" twice in her self-serving statement, but she seems to mean it in terms of her enthusiasm rather than her barely controlled emotion. There are degrees to which one can be passionate about something and screaming threateningly at another human being is on the wrong end of that scale. It's never good when passion turns into rage.

If Serena isn't sorry, then she shouldn't apologize. But if she's not sorry, she shouldn't expect people to move on as quickly as she apparently has.

Everyone is human and everyone makes mistakes, but one can only be forgiven when they demonstrate contrition. Serena hasn't gotten there yet. She still seems to think this is about a missed call.

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