How not to issue an apology

In public relations, everyone, sooner or later, writes a statement of apology. Here’s how to do it the right way.


For most of my life, I’ve been a football player, not a public speaker, so, you know, I really don’t know, you know, how to say what I really want to say.

Begin by apologizing for what you did, not for how little practice you have in apologizing.

You know, I understand it’s—it’s important or not important, you know, as far as what you say but how you say things. So, you know, I take this opportunity just to speak from the heart.

Conciseness is the voice of sincerity; wordiness undermines candor.

First, I want to apologize, you know, for all the things that— that I’ve done and that I have allowed to happen. I want to personally apologize to Commissioner Goodell, Arthur Blank, coach Bobby Petrino, my Atlanta Falcons teammates, you know, for our—for our previous discussions that we had. And I was not honest and forthright in our discussions, and, you know, I was ashamed and totally disappointed in myself to say the least.

Adverbs such as “personally” and “totally” lessen the impact, because they insist what we’re saying is true, rather than demonstrating it.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.