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The Joy of Six: public apologies

From Lance Armstrong to Tiger Woods, via Eric Cantona, we present a selection of apologies and non-apologies

To err is human, to forgive is divine: athlete messes up, then fronts up before the media to express contrition and ask for mercy. In a world where even the most nimble feet are often made from metaphorical clay, the public apology has long been a sporting staple. Many are utterly sincere, others not so much. Some are forced, quite a few are unnecessary. Then there’s the vague non-apology, where – through gritted teeth – a sportsman or woman who clearly feels they’ve done little wrong apologises to anyone “if” they were offended. One of many, a personal favourite came in 2013 from cyclist Peter Sagan, who famously issued one notable classic of the genre, when after publicly goosing podium girl Maja Leye in the wake of the Tour of Flanders, he tweeted that it “was not my intention to disrespect women today on the podium. Just a joke, sorry if someone was disturbed about it.” Splendid.

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