Bringing Sorry Back

sorry4 FOX Network’s Shepard Smith and Doping Network’s Lance Armstrong are on opposite ends of the sorry spectrum.

When FOX inadvertently broadcast a live shot of a deadly shot at the end of a car chase, Shep immediately apologized, explained how they had screwed up, took personal responsibility for it, and pledged that it “won’t happen again on my watch.”

A solid 10 on the sorry spectrum. In the apology game, Smith is your Shepard.

Lance, on the other hand, didn’t have the … the courage to own up to years of doping, lying, and bullying until he saw a chance to cop a plea with his mea culpa.

Lance has one. Not two. Just one. And we’d take that one away if the scale went any lower.

The esteemed magazine The Atlantic falls somewhere in the middle of the sorry spectrum for their heart-felt—but quite late—apology for allowing the Scientologists to slip one past the goalie. The cruise-controlled cult posted an online ad touting their creamy goodness, but they designed it to look like a genuine news article (in much the same way they try to make themselves look like a real religion).

The Atlantic gets a 5.75 on this one. It would have been a solid eight if they had apologized immediately instead of posting some corporate-speak placeholder for 24 hours as they tried to get their act together.

And finally, an “Honorable Mention” to Reed Hastings and the Netflix gang for one of the most entertaining videotaped apologies in modern history. If you squint, you’d swear you were watching Joe Isuzu trying to sell you a Trooper.

You’re going to screw up someday. Trust me. When you do, take the hit as a gift. The manner in which you accept (or don’t accept) responsibility for your actions will define you. It will enrich your story—for better or for worse. So do the right thing. Take responsibility. Apologize. And promise to not do it again. Folks'll love you for it.