The "Round Mound of Rebound" sure knows how to bounce back in the right way.
Charles Barkley, in an interview with his TNT colleague Ernie Johnson on NBA.com, had the best apology we've seen in recent weeks. Last month, Barkley was suspended from his work as an analyst for network after he was caught driving with a blood alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit in Arizona.
And even though Barkley himself told us more than 15 years ago in a Nike spot not to call him a role model, he could at least be one to Michael Phelps and Alex Rodriguez. Barkley turns 46 tomorrow, so it's hard for him to use the youth excuse as both Phelps and A-Rod did, but it's impressive that Barkley didn't have a single excuse for his behavior.
To save athletes who get in trouble in the future from having to hire crisis managers, we've decided to show you how to apologize — with excerpts straight from the mouth of Barkley himself. Here's the sequence of how you do it: Apologize, Thank, Accept, Tell Others To Learn.
Want to start with an apology and a thank you. My bad, my fault. Getting a DUI is unacceptable in any way, shape or form. I owe an apology to my family, to TNT, to T-Mobile and to my NBA family. I embarrassed all of the above.
Also, I want to say thank you. I've gotten so much support. I've had hundreds of people, total strangers, who have told me to hang in there. You have no idea what that means to me. That means so much to me. This is just my bad, no excuses, it was unacceptable. I think that a DUI is unacceptable. That can't happen and I've got to challenge other people, not just celebrities or jocks. You have to really think before getting behind the wheel after you've been drinking. We've discussed this many times on [Inside the NBA] when other [players] have gotten DUIs. I challenge everybody to really think hard before they get behind the wheel after drinking. Nobody thinks they're drunk driving. But for me, getting a DUI is unacceptable.
It's really, really embarrassing for myself and my family. Also, I embarrassed TNT, I embarrassed T-Mobile and I embarrassed my NBA family. It's not just about me. I embarrassed a lot of people in this situation...I told (my daughter) that I really, really screwed up and that's all you can say. You can't make excuses. This was 100 percent my fault and it's unacceptable, that's all I told her.
Once you are in the limelight, it's difficult. Every mistake you make is going to be magnified. For me, the worst part of this situation is I can't believe I let TNT, T-Mobile and the NBA down. I embarrassed the NBA in this situation. Realistically, that's the thing that disappointed me the most. I can't believe I let those three organizations down.
My message to whoever I speak to is that you have to really think before getting behind the wheel when you drink and drive. I'm going to challenge all individuals when I get back on the air, or when I do future interviews, to really think hard before getting behind the wheel of a car when you've been drinking. I am certainly going to use better judgment. I'm not going to drive a car after I've been drinking. I'm going to get a driver anytime I go out in public. And I'm going to challenge all NBA players and hopefully all jocks across the board. When we go out, we really have to think before getting behind the wheel.
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