Who’s Sorry Now?


The Rev. Al Sharpton doesn’t accept the New York Post’s apology, but this isn’t new—in fact, for a man of God, Sharpton is quick to take offense and slow to forgive for a state of affairs he might describe as “troubling, at best.”

You don’t ask for an apology that you expect to really come from the heart. The Christian thing to do—if you’re into that sort of thing—is to forgive without reservation and be quick to apologize to your injured brother. Sharpton seems to be in the apology business, so I decided to sit down and figure it out.


The list that emerged paints a sad, but interesting, portrait of the chief apology trader still active today.

Al Sharpton’s Troubling Sack of Sorries

1.  It’s determined that New York teen Tawana Brawley lied about being raped, and the accused parties request an apology. And then they sued. Sharpton’s friends ante up to pay the judgment, but to date, no apology issued

2.  Duke Lacrosse players are cleared of charges of rape, and there is a public outcry for Sharpton and others to apologize. They’re still waiting on that apology. 

3.  Sharpton demands an apology and the firing of shock jock Don Imus. Imus apologizes, sues CBS for wrongful termination and is back on the air within a year. “We will monitor him,” says Sharpton. T'yeah. 

4. Sharpton leads a call for an edit and apology from the filmmakers behind the hit film Barbershop, even calling for a boycott. The film goes on to do well.

5.  Sharpton demands apology from Vincente Fox, for comments made about Mexicans having to do work that even blacks won’t do. Despite the undeniable truth of his statement, Fox apologizes. No word on whether it was accepted or not. Probably not. 


6.  Sharpton demands Cartoon Network to apologize for an episode of the Boondocks cartoon lampooning Martin Luther King Jr. The network gives the worst half-apology ever, which Sharpton does not accept.

7.  TV bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman begs Sharpton to forgive him for calling his son’s girlfriend an “effing ni-gger.” Sharpton does not grant absolution, A&E removes Dog’s show from the schedule for a year. He is back, currently in his sixth ass-kicking season. 


8.  Al Sharpton demands that Isiah Thomas apologize to black women everywhere for inappropriate comments he allegedly made to a co-worker. Thomas gets hit with the largest sexual harassment suit in history. No apology given.

9.  Michael “Cosmo Kramer” Richards, after losing it during a comedy gig and calling a black patron a “nigger,” seeks the advice and forgiveness of Al Sharpton. Sharpton does not accept his apology, KKKramer leaves for Cambodia to find himself.


10. Shock editorial cartoonist Sean Delonas draws a toon for the New York Post with cops shooting down a chimp, and many see some veiled reference to President Barack Obama. Many do not. Sharpton, a favorite target of Delonas’, does, and calls for an apology. Apologies are issued. Sharpton remains unsatisfied. As the newspaper business takes a last spin around the toilet bowl, Sharpton calls for more diversity in the newsroom. And not a moment too soon.

Whereas you or I would gladly accept a sweet roll, a nice card or perhaps a cookie card as a sufficient sorry, Sharpton is not inclined to give or accept such tokens, which strikes me. Why does the Rev. Sharpton never admit to being wrong, and why does he ask for apologies he has no intention of accepting? Maybe forgiveness doesn't pay as well.


Jimi Izrael blogs for The Root on The Hardline.

Single Father, Author, Screenwriter, Award-Winning Journalist, NPR Moderator, Lecturer and College Professor. Habitual Line-Stepper