What Serena Williams Can Teach Joe Wilson and Kanye West

September 14, 2009

Inappropriate, unprofessional, and obnoxious outbursts are everywhere (I try to confine mine to my home).

Surely you have seen the clip of Joe Wilson calling Obama a liar in the middle of his speech before Congress (above) and by now you must have seen Kanye West jump up and take the microphone from Taylor Swift when the 19 year old won her first VMA award to say essentially that Beyonce should have won. And, of course Serena Williams lost her temper and her chance to go to the finals at the US Open.

Here’s the thing — THE APOLOGIES! Dear people, this has nothing to do with law, but an apology has 3 elements:

1. apologize genuinely to the person you harmed,
2. say what you are sorry for, and
3. say what you are going to do to make up for the damage you caused.

Here is Serena’s apology:

I want to amend my press statement of yesterday, and want to make it clear as possible – I want to sincerely apologize FIRST to the lines woman, Kim Clijsters, the USTA, and tennis fans everywhere for my inappropriate outburst. I’m a woman of great pride, faith and integrity, and I admit when I’m wrong.

I need to make it clear to all young people that I handled myself inappropriately and it’s not the way to act — win or lose, good call or bad call in any sport, in any manner.

I like to lead by example. We all learn from experiences both good and bad. I will learn and grow from this, and be a better person as a result.

We don’t know what Joe Wilson said to Rahm Emmanuel and maybe he has to write a note since it is not easy to get the president on the phone but

#1: he did not apologize to the person he harmed (Obama for sure and maybe everyone in Congress).

#2: His statement to the press was, “The Republican Leadership told me to apologize and I did.” My Mommy/boss told me to say sorry does not cut it for sincerity.

#3: And I’d like to make it up to you by (helping pass health care we can all agree on, having you over for dinner, sponsoring some other piece of legislation we CAN agree on if it can’t be health care).

Kanye West’s “apology” still said Beyonce’s video was the best. He (or someone who is vested in preserving his career) has removed it from his website, but luckily TMZ captured it as a screen shot so we can have an example of the lamest apology ever.

Serena got it: She had multiple people to apologize to, she named her bad behavior, and she promised to learn from it and try to be a better example in the future. All 3 elements.

Please people – when you mess up, apologize. And when you apologize, get it right. And teach your children. **thank you, this has been a message from the manners police**