Rick Morrissey expressed my thoughts exactly in the Wednesday Tribune.
His subject was Michael Vick and the hoops he still must jump through before the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback can return to the NFL.
“Eighteen months in prison and two more under home confinement for running a dog-fighting operation apparently is not enough,” Morrissey wrote. “Lots of people want contrition on top of incarceration. They want public remorse.
“If you will forgive the phrase, the American dog-and-pony show of public regret is old and has virtually no meaning.”
Thank you. It is not only meaningless, it is disappointing and embarrassing. Integrity is even more impressive in a bad person that in a good one, since the good person has other virtues.
When Bernie Madoff was sentenced last month he turned to a group of victims in the courtroom and said, “I’m sorry. I know that doesn’t help you.” Damn right it didn’t — his victims were still out some $50 billion. And it didn’t help Madoff — he got 150 years. The apology simply diminished him. The AP news story said Madoff spoke with “mechanical calm.”
So perhaps his apology was patently insincere. Let’s hope so.
Sometimes sinners genuinely repent. We should rejoice in their redemption, but that’s not easy to do when there are so many fakers around we’re afraid to trust the ones who mean it.