October 21, 2009
Jeff Fisher delivered an appropriate apology today for donning a Peyton Manning jersey at a charity benefit where he explained his choice of apparel by saying he "wanted to feel like a winner". The action drew outrage from humorless people who can't take a joke and those who think that being a football coach is as serious a profession as there is. From a PR standpoint, the apology was expected. It wasn't at all needed.
The whole thing was a self-deprecating joke. I guarantee Jeff Fisher is more disgusted with his team's 0-6 start than any fan out there, so to suggest that he doesn't care about his team's shoddy record because he's able to poke fun at it is preposterous.
To his credit, Fisher stood by the gag joke (which was pretty funny, I thought) while trying to calm the masses who called for his head:
"It was for a very, very worthwhile cause, charity," Fisher said. "I was introducing Tony, just having fun with it and I really apologize if I offended anybody, but if you're offended over the nature of that type of thing, then I think you need to rethink things.
"This is a very worthwhile and needy benefit and I was honored to be there. ... I'm sorry if I offended anybody but if I had to do it again, I would do it again."
That's a classic non-apology apology right there. He says he's sorry and then chastises anyone stupid enough to have desired such a statement in the first place. That's fantastic.
Some blogs failed to mention that Fisher was introducing Tony Dungy while he wore the jersey, a fact which makes this even less of a big deal. People can't poke fun at themselves now?
One blogger said this would be like if Jim Zorn wore an Eli Manning jersey to a benefit in D.C., which isn't the best comparison. Fisher has earned the right to laugh at himself, Zorn hasn't. If people in Tennessee disagree, maybe they'd like to replace their successful coach with the decidedly unsuccessful Zorn. He should be on the market in a few days.
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