Jerry Remy: Players should 'learn baseball language'

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Red(s)HawksFan

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NESN has also issued a statement:

"Relative to last night's NESN telecast from New York, NESN does not agree with any such views expressed by Jerry Remy, and we know from talking to Jerry that he regrets making them. The network sincerely apologizes to anyone who was offended by Jerry's comments."

NESN knows that Remy regrets making the comments? I wish he had admitted that in his tweeted apology. (I guess that admission was for NESN's ears only.)
Maybe he didn't have room to say the word "regret" in his 140 characters. Doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who does Twitter "threads", so his statement there was for maximum efficiency.

He is supposed to be making a statement prior to tonight's game. I'm sure it will include all the key words from NESN's release.
 

Pearl Wilson

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I was truly shocked to hear him express this sentiment. My husband, who is not a native English speaker (but speaks it well) was downright offended.

I watch a lot with the tv muted, so I have to ask - has Remy has been more off-the-cuff this year than previous years?
 

E5 Yaz

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espn: Red Sox manager John Farrell defended use of translators in mound meetings. "Whether it was with Dice-K to Hideki Okajima to guys that were on our pitching staff, I would have liked to have an interpreter around." Farrell said he tried to learn single words in Japanese but found it difficult.
 

trekfan55

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First generation Italian-American here. Unfortunately, I never learned any Italian, nor did my brother or sister. To your assimilate point, part of it for us was to speak only "American" growing up because the war was still on people's minds, and Italy was on the wrong side for most of it. Other thing was, when my parents didn't want us to understand something, they'd speak in Italian. That kind of pissed us off. Traveling in Italy later, I'd wished I'd learned some Italian as a kid.
Similar situation, my father was born in Syria, went to Israel and then here, my mother was born in Israel but spent her childhood in Colombia.

So I obviously learned Spanish, and I know English as a second language, and I learned enough Hebrew to be able to converse. Never learned Arabic, which my parents (and many other relatives) speak to each other. And BTW it's not even classic Arabic, there are several dialects across the Middle East.

The whole LEARN ENGLISH movement is not fair, specially because there is no official language in the US (and this issue has been hot button sometimes) yet if the native language of the place you live or choose to live is English, the signs are in English, the majority of the people speak English, wouldn't it be easier for all involved if you spoke the language? I mean, to Cone's example, if you plan on driving people around, and picking up people from school and stuff, why not learn English so you can communicate better? This is ease and convenience, not xenophobia. Xenophobia is a viral video of a guy insulting a Puerto Rican Army veteran for speaking Spanish on his phone to his mother.

 

redsoxstiff

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A major,even critical problem facing us all...A foreign speaker who can manage English o.k. Might not feel confident enough to participate in an important conversation... This could apply to anyone in any language.

There are billions of misunderstandings occurring all the time...I am a first generation American with Canadian parents one English speaking Frenchman ,my mother An English speaking Scotch Canadian...My parents were as much foreign as anyone else...Culture is as culture does...
Missteps as tiny as Remy's problem allow a myriad of people to get off at little or no cost...
Many Americans do no know there roots beyond their grandparents.If you spent the time know your roots you would be surprised to find that many peoples have more in common than not..

Here,s one to consider,Panamanians ,Canadians, Mexicans, people from Belize are Americans and Peruvians and so forth...We,I the United States of America....Oops there is the United States of Mexico...etc. It may be arrogance...qui sait...

Asking someone to learn enough of a language to be proficient is asking a lot, Cherry picking to find offenses where none is intended blows but he who is without ignorance cast the first posting...
 

Joe Sixpack

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One other factor not mentioned yet is when learning a second language, it's incredibly difficult to follow and understand it in a noisy environment even if you are otherwise proficient in the language.

I can speak and understand Spanish well enough and can converse pretty well one on one or in small group/quiet settings. I find it near impossible to comprehend if there's too much background noise, like in a noisy bar. I'm pretty sure I would have a really hard time with it in a stadium with 30-40,000 people.
 

OCST

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....Just FYI...Im the grandson of immigrants who came here legally & learned English. I also own my own business, while you most likely dont...so, yeah.. tell that guy to learn English....
I own my own business.

As far as who you prefer, Im soooo f-ing glad I dont live in Mass so i dont need to interact with people like you.
A shame, this. A lost opportunity all-around, I say.

Jesus Christ..is EVERYONE a victim nowadays?
Seems so.
 

The Mort Report

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I for one didn't even think this was the worst comment Remy made that night. Sure listening to it I was thinking "boy he did not think that through," but did anyone catch what he said during the beer and bacon promo earlier? They showed a fan that was over weight and remy said something along the lines of beer in his hand, bacon on his chin. That made me cringe more than the translator comment
 

Sox and Rocks

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I for one didn't even think this was the worst comment Remy made that night. Sure listening to it I was thinking "boy he did not think that through," but did anyone catch what he said during the beer and bacon promo earlier? They showed a fan that was over weight and remy said something along the lines of beer in his hand, bacon on his chin. That made me cringe more than the translator comment
Yes, I caught that, too, and it was far more egregious and insensitive than his interpreter remarks. However, our current culture is far more aware of ethnic insensitivity than those for different body types.
 

Plympton91

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In this melting pot, it is infeasible for most people to learn all of the languages spoken by the diverse communities of a modern educated workforce. You can't just always rely on having a pairing that allows for bilateral translations. So, it really does mean that the pressure to learn English is pretty strong even without a law that says it's the native language. So, why bother with a law? Doesn't seem like a small government, competitive market solution to me at all.
 

The Needler

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What's the cost to taxpayers of naming an official language, i.e., how much does it cost for Congress to pass a law? And what's the cost of not doing it, i.e., how much does the federal government spend on translating, offering, printing materials in other languages? If the latter is more than the former, then I'm not sure it's not a small government solution. But yes, English is doing just fine in this country without legislation.

And for those on the other side of this country's jersey war, even the bernieloved Democratic Socialists of Sweden decided just a few years back to finally name Swedish the official language.
 

SoFloSoxFan

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Unfortunately, this thoughtless remark plays into the notion that Boston is still a racist city, witness the harassment of Andrew Jones and Schilling's idiotic and unsolicited comments.
Andrew Jones? Are you mistaking Andruw Jones from Curaçao with Adam Jones from San Diego? All dark skinned center fielders are the same to you? OUTRAGE. RACISM. How dare you!

I could give you the benefit of the doubt and think maybe you just didn't say what you wanted to with perfect accuracy but apparently that's not how it works anymore.

OUTRAGE!

edit : I will explicitly label this as dry witted sarcasm/satire based on current events around here.
 
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SumnerH

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What's the cost to taxpayers of naming an official language, i.e., how much does it cost for Congress to pass a law? And what's the cost of not doing it, i.e., how much does the federal government spend on translating, offering, printing materials in other languages? If the latter is more than the former, then I'm not sure it's not a small government solution.
This is a weird case to argue. There's nothing that compels the government to translate laws into other languages even if they don't name an official one. Good luck finding an official Cherokee or even Polish version of ACA. And countries that do have official languages often translate things into other languages that have large bodies of speakers.

The whole idea is nonsense; just consider making a case that the Navajo people should learn English if they want to be real Americans. There are strong enough market reasons for them to do so, and that's served us well enough for centuries.

We've even gone through periods where a substantial number of public schools were non-English (I'd have to look it up, but I believe going into World War I it was 10% or so of public schools that taught in German) without tearing the nation apart.
 
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The Needler

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This is a weird case to argue. There's nothing that compels the government to translate laws into other languages even if they don't name an official one.
This is pretty dumb. The point is not that there isn't a law that requires translations, it's that the reality is that it's done. And an official language law would say that it shall no longer be done.

And yeah, it's a weird case to argue. Let's ignore the fact that most of the country agrees with it, that it has had substantial support in Congress every time introduced, and that more than half of the states have approved English as the official language. Some guy on the internet named SumnerH says it's nonsense. What else could matter?
 

SumnerH

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This is pretty dumb. The point is not that there isn't a law that requires translations, it's that the reality is that it's done. And an official language law would say that it shall no longer be done.
No, it wouldn't. As I already pointed out, countries that do have official language laws routinely produce translations in unofficial languages that are widely spoken.

You could certainly make a law about what languages you translate into, but that's independent of proclaiming one or several languages as official.
 

SumnerH

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"Routinely" does not equal "required to."
Nowhere did I argue that (there's nothing requiring them to now, either; reread my point on Cherokee and Polish). I've been consistently saying that government translations are independent of declarations of official language. You're the one who's conflated the two; indeed, that confusion was the whole reason I posted originally.
 

absintheofmalaise

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Take the political talk (official language) to the appropriate forum or this thread will be locked. It does not belong on the main board. If you have any questions, send me a PM.
 

threecy

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I don't get the big deal. He voiced an opinion related to the game. There was no hate speech.
Frankly, I'm much more bothered by this reaction than what he said.
 

joyofsox

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The core of Remy's two statements:

Via Twitter: "I sincerely apologize to those who were offended by my comments ..."

On NESN: "I made some comments that offended a number of people ... I'd like to apologize ... to [those people] who were offended by my comments."

Remy has not acknowledged that his comments, which offended a lot of people, were actually offensive. The only descriptions he offers are "my comments" or "some comments". He didn't retract anything he said, and he didn't offer any clarification. All he admits is that he "made some comments".

He says "a number of people" found his words offensive. He doesn't agree or disagree with that characterization, but he wants us to know that he's "sincerely" sorry that those offended people felt the way they did. Since Remy cannot control anyone else's feelings, offering his apologies doesn't make much sense. Remy doesn't say he's sorry for offending these people - because that would mean admitting that his comments were offensive, which, it seems clear to me (though I am not a mind reader), is something he does not believe.

That's certainly his right - and many people agree with him - but he still hasn't given a proper apology. It's like saying you're sorry when someone tells you a relative died. It's a polite way to say you feel bad about what happened to them. You are not actually claiming responsibility.
 

drbretto

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That's because he doesn't give a shit. He's an old man with an opinion. He's not sorry for his comments, and he's never going to give in. Let it go. You're just giving yourselves heartburn over nothing.
 

ALiveH

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Skimming through this thread, I guess my interpretation is pretty different from most. I read it as Heinsohn-style homerism not Trump-style jingoism. He's complaining about our biggest rivals the MFYs using an interpreter - timing is not a coincidence that this is the 1st year in a long time the Sox have not used one. He's more about trying to gain any competitive advantage, seems like he spoke off-the-cuff and didn't realize in the heat of the moment that he was stepping into a political quagmire. That being said, it is literally his job description to communicate effectively while making a broad diverse audience feel good about themselves. So, in that sense he failed and might deserve to get fired for that failing (being a bad communicator).

(btw, IMHO he failed twice b/c apologizing for it confirmed in many people's minds that he admitted he is a bigot and also called attention to it, extending the media life-cycle of the story - his career might be irredeemable now)
 

Average Reds

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I don't get the big deal. He voiced an opinion related to the game. There was no hate speech.
Frankly, I'm much more bothered by this reaction than what he said.
What Remy said was not hate speech in any way. But to claim that it was merely "an opinion related to the game" is willful blindness. He engaged in mild-but-typical old-guy xenophobia with a healthy dash of "not how it was done in my day" thrown in. Which pissed off a few folks

These things tend to take on a life of their own, and the way to get past them is to apologize and move on. By not doing so - or, more specifically, by issuing what can only be seen as a "qualified apology" - Remy has allowed what should have been a one-day story to linger.

You may feel that's not fair, but it's hard to see how any sentient human living in the world today wouldn't understand how these things work.
 
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drbretto

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We have a forum for politics and the main board isn't that that forum. Discussion about making English the official language belong there. If you have further questions or comments please take it to backwash or PM me please.
I don't think he was questioning the modding, just the situation itself.
 

nighthob

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I can't believe this became a big deal. I was watching when he said it and thought absolutely nothing of it. Hundreds of foreign players have come through over the years and not had the benefit of a mound translator. I didn't find anything malicious or ill intentioned by Remy at the time. If he had said something like "all the Japs get special privileges" I could see some level of outrage, but I didn't perceive it was anything more than the game has been played forever without needing translators, why do we need one here.

He has issued his apology and we should all move on.
Andrew Jones? Are you mistaking Andruw Jones from Curaçao with Adam Jones from San Diego? All dark skinned center fielders are the same to you? OUTRAGE. RACISM. How dare you!

I could give you the benefit of the doubt and think maybe you just didn't say what you wanted to with perfect accuracy but apparently that's not how it works anymore.

OUTRAGE!

edit : I will explicitly label this as dry witted sarcasm/satire based on current events around here.
This is just modern America, sarcasm is frowned upon because someone might become offended. Soon self-flagellation and public confession of wrongdoings, real and imagined, will become requirements for public life.
 

reggiecleveland

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I am an ESL teacher. A few quick points.

Learning to understand English is easier for adults than learning to speak it. The further you get from age 16 the more difficult pronunciation becomes. So expecting Japanese guy that spends a few months each year in the USA to give comprehensible answer in English, in a stressful time restrained time is a bit much. He may understand the coach, but be limited in ability to answer. The countless idioms and slang phrases in baseball make this even more difficult.

Asking English speaking professionals in jargon slang rich professions to learn to use concrete language is almost impossible, This gets more difficult the older, less formally educated the professional.

People only master a language when there is a reason to do so and lots of time to practice. Players that speak their 1st language at home, and have a job that is primarily physical and not language centred not only are not in a learning rich environment, will see little reason for extended time studying English.

Teams likley feel the player should spend energy on being a better player, rather than the difficult task of English learning.

English pronunciation is varied. I expect if I spoke to Jerry Remy for an extended period of time about anything but baseball I would fail to follow him at some point. Aussies, Scots, Londoners, Bible Belt Americans often have subtitles provided when featured on TV news in other English speaking places.

Lots of players do not know as much English as people think. For fun when doing my masters I benchmarked player's speech based on interviews. Even a charismatic media gold mine like Ortiz uses a limited vocabulary and shows delays, deliberately chosen words with more complex nonbaseball questions.
 
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Al Zarilla

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That's because he doesn't give a shit. He's an old man with an opinion. He's not sorry for his comments, and he's never going to give in. Let it go. You're just giving yourselves heartburn over nothing.
There you go, profiling old men. Actually, I think PC has gone off the deep end in this country. As you were.
 

phenweigh

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Second generation American of Polish descent here. Only one of my grandparents was alive by the time I came along, and she only spoke Polish despite living in the US for over forty years. The city where we lived had a large Polish community, and I'd guess that's the main reason she didn't learn much English. My parents were bilingual and I was being brought up bilingual since my grandmother was my sitter while my parents worked. But we moved just as I started school, taking away regular contact with my grandmother, and I hardly know any Polish now. I took two years of Spanish in high school and can't follow a conversation. But when I was in Spain on a business trip, I could read a newspaper article and get the gist of it.

I've been to South Korea regularly and picked up a few polite phrases and learned how to order beer, but boy that's a tough language to learn. My Korean colleagues all spoke English well enough, and highway signs were in English and Hangul, so getting along and around was easy enough. I found that being accepted had more to do with being polite, learning about Korean culture, and eating Korean food. Enough about me, but I wanted to share my background.

What Remy said was dumb, but IMO hardly something to be upset about, even with a half-assed apology. O'Brien is regularly dumber than Remy. I miss Orsillo, who was a great translator when The Eck first entered the booth.
 

chrisfont9

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That's part of it. The other part is that their grammar is vastly different from English. I know because I'm trying to learn Japanese and it's a beast. The transition from English to Japanese and vice versa is vastly different from, say, Spanish. Some Japanese people love to try to practice their English with you but others are quite shy and too nervous to try with a native speaker. My mother-in-law, for instance, understands a bit but is not comfortable trying to speak English in front of me outside of a few short words.
Yeah, I taught in Japan back in the days of conversation schools. The school system drills English into them but converting that into free-flowing conversation is a separate matter that they struggle with just about like how Americans struggle to learn any foreign languages at all, which is to say that some people put in the effort to get good at it, but the environment to just become bilingual isn't an automatic thing like, oh, the Netherlands.
Personally I heard it in real time and it sounded more like "mound visits are dumb and who's that guy anyway?" and only resembled, unintentionally, the ugly "learn English!" crap that people sometimes assault foreigners or citizens from another language culture with. It's hard to imagine why he would have some bias against the Japanese, though I suppose anything is possible.
 

54thMA

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At this point, how many of the people who are up in arms over what he said actually heard it in the context in which it was said?

I was watching the game and heard it live; he first thought the translator was the trainer and something was wrong with Tanaka, then O'Brien told him it was the translator....................he seemed more annoyed than anything, somewhere along the lines of "how long is this mound visit going to take now?"

He's long been annoyed with the pace of the game and how long these games take to play; to me, that is went up his tailpipe, not the issue with the language barrier because Tanaka can't speak English.

The uproar over this is beyond my comprehension, talk about a whole lot of nothing, but this is the world we live in, welcome to 2017 everyone.

Next thing we'll see are protestors at Yawkey Way demanding Remy be fired armed with torches and pitchforks, ready to storm the castle over this horrendous slight on non English speaking Americans everywhere from New Bedford to San Diego.
 

chrisfont9

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Good points, P91. It's about being polite in many cases.

I would guess another difference between Tiant and Tanaka is that Tiant at least could reliably count on a few Spanish-speaking players to be in the clubhouse besides himself. Tanaka and other Japanese players probably can't; it was something of a rarity that the Sox had Koji and Taz on the team at the same time (and neither one really spoke English to reporters or staff as far as I know).
Yeah, I'd imagine there are real differences here. The Spanish culture is a big baseball subculture and a permanent fixture in the US, and a lot of players are moving to the US for good. Tanaka has the choice to remain outside US culture, pitch his games, and fly back to Japan without ever assimilating into anything here. I'm sure he's learning plenty of English along the way, but if he knows he can rely on a translator for some technical chat on the mound about his arm slot or the next hitter's red zone, then more power to him. But that's as much about him being a star, as compared to a Dominican kid working his way up the system.

And now your ad feed is showing me "KYOTO SUMMER COURSE!" from ISI Japanese Language School.
 

Average Reds

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At this point, how many of the people who are up in arms over what he said actually heard it in the context in which it was said?

I was watching the game and heard it live; he first thought the translator was the trainer and something was wrong with Tanaka, then O'Brien told him it was the translator....................he seemed more annoyed than anything, somewhere along the lines of "how long is this mound visit going to take now?"

He's long been annoyed with the pace of the game and how long these games take to play; to me, that is went up his tailpipe, not the issue with the language barrier because Tanaka can't speak English.

The uproar over this is beyond my comprehension, talk about a whole lot of nothing, but this is the world we live in, welcome to 2017 everyone.

Next thing we'll see are protestors at Yawkey Way demanding Remy be fired armed with torches and pitchforks, ready to storm the castle over this horrendous slight on non English speaking Americans everywhere from New Bedford to San Diego.
Seems to me like the people who are making a big deal out of it in this thread are those who want to insist that people are making too much of a big deal about it.
 

Average Reds

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Thanks for throwing your two cents on the topic, good job.
Actually, I made myself clear earlier. I'm just curious why you are ranting about people ranting.

Remy screwed up. Whether there was another reason for it or not, he screwed up. If he had any common sense, he would have realized that he was (unintentionally) offensive, apologized and then we all move on. Instead, he turned a one day story into a three day story.
 

E5 Yaz

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We need a poll!
Second generation American of Polish descent here. Only one of my grandparents was alive by the time I came along, and she only spoke Polish despite living in the US for over forty years. The city where we lived had a large Polish community, and I'd guess that's the main reason she didn't learn much English. My parents were bilingual and I was being brought up bilingual since my grandmother was my sitter while my parents worked. But we moved just as I started school, taking away regular contact with my grandmother, and I hardly know any Polish now. I took two years of Spanish in high school and can't follow a conversation. But when I was in Spain on a business trip, I could read a newspaper article and get the gist of it.
 

drbretto

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Actually, I made myself clear earlier. I'm just curious why you are ranting about people ranting.

Remy screwed up. Whether there was another reason for it or not, he screwed up. If he had any common sense, he would have realized that he was (unintentionally) offensive, apologized and then we all move on. Instead, he turned a one day story into a three day story.
He did say something unintentionally offensive. He did apologize. How did he turn it into a three day thing exactly?

IMO, the reaction is absolutely a more important topic. People hear an out of context sound byte, make a bunch of assumptions. How is this any different from the criticisms about people rooting for the laundry and following their news soundbytes? It's not. It's exactly the same thing. And it's lazy and it's wrong.
 

Kid T

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He did say something unintentionally offensive. He did apologize. How did he turn it into a three day thing exactly?
I think the non-apology apology had a lot to do with it.

Saying "sorry if I offended anyone" shows accountability and remorse. Whereas saying "I'm sorry if anyone was offended" - shifts the blame to the listener.
 

drbretto

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I think the non-apology apology had a lot to do with it.

Saying "sorry if I offended anyone" shows accountability and remorse. Whereas saying "I'm sorry if anyone was offended" - shifts the blame to the listener.
Again, there's no need to take everything at it's worst possible interpretation. That's also the same apology one might use if they felt they were misunderstood but recognized they need be more careful on the air. That really should be good enough. He didn't double down. He didn't grumble. He had a moment of ignorance on live TV. I think it's reasonable for him to plead no contest and we all get on with our lives. If it's going to set in and he learns some kind of life lesson, he'll do it in private.
 
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