Cecil the Lion – Walter Palmer’s Non-Apology

Dentist Cecil Lion

In light of the terrible “apology” by Walter Palmer for killing Cecil the lion, I wanted to share this great little piece by Jake Flanagin about what I call a “non-pology” – Where Sorry is not Sorry.

Non-pology is where a person seems to apologizes but carefully crafts their words to not take any responsibility for what had happened and thus maintain their innocence and their pride. Politicians do it all the time. So do athletes. So do many ordinary people. We hear it all the time, though we might not always catch it. Some examples:

“I am sorry this happened”
– Are you sorry you did it, or are you sorry that things turned out the way it did. That you got caught. That you are sorry this happened.. to you?

“This is not characteristic of me.. lapse in judgment”
– This is totally not me. What I said is not a reflection of who I am but just a slip of the tongue. I didn’t say the racist remark because I am racist. It was a slip. Don’t know what happened there. I did not rape/hurt/beat that woman because I was angry/dumb/have issues/evil. It was a lapse in judgment.

“I apologize if I offended anyone”
– I am sorry if what I did, happen to offend those who are overly sensitive to this.

Some quotes uttered by real people. I will leave out the names.

  • “I am sorry that statements taken out of context have had such repercussions.”
  • “You have my apologies for offending you for thinking I was being serious instead of accurately realizing I was mocking you”
  • “Our cover illustration last week got strong reactions, which we regret. […] Our intention was not to incite or offend.”
  • “I am truly sorry for the loss of your son” (by someone who shot and killed a teen)
  • “If anything I said this morning has been misconstrued to the opposite effect I want to apologize for that misconstrued misconstruction. “
  • “I feel bad if her feelings were hurt.”

and of course Walter Palmer himself in his letter to his patience

  • “I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion…”

Can you fit any more justifications in one sentence? In other words “I am sorry that my love for something good ended up this way.” The blame lies in his love for his hobby. Ignore the fact they lured the lion out of a protected area in order to “legally” shoot it. To be clear, I think the kind of hate & bashing going on to this man is wrong in itself as well. The kind of scary and hurtful threats people make and the things they post is just as wrong and people should be called out for such hate. Hate is hate. But apologies like these don’t help and only stoke the fire. Just say what you did was wrong. Take responsibility.

Have you heard other good “non-pologies”? Share it the comments below.


Cecil Lion Dentist Apology
Em.. you call that an apology? That was weak bro.

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