On Wednesday afternoon, Caps forward (for now, hopefully not for long) Brendan Leipsic was exposed using hateful, misogynistic language. Wednesday evening, Leipsic released an apology via Twitter.
It was bad.
This is my opinion, so let me tell you about me. I am a fan of apologies. I have made literally tens of mistakes in my life, and I’ve apologized for many of them. To me, apologies are art. They are church. They are where we get back in touch with humility. They are where we rededicate ourselves to serving one another.
There’s a recipe for an apology. It goes like this:
With that in mind, here’s Leipsic’s apology:
Yesterday my friend’s Instagram account was hacked
Aaaaaand you already screwed up. Leipsic begins his apology by painting himself as the victim for having his private hateful comments exposed.
and an individual circulated images that are representative of private conversations I was a part of.
This is not a description of what Leipsic did (i.e. be a misogynist). This is a description of someone sharing something that Leipsic was “a part of”. There’s no agency here, nor any acknowledgment of what actually happened (i.e. hate towards women as an entire class of people).
I fully recognize how inappropriate and offensive these comments are
Leipsic does not actually say he made the comments or what the comments were. He says there were comments in a private conversation that he was a part of which were “inappropriate and offensive.” That’s three degrees of separation between him and the action (i.e. the socialized hating of women). It’s not apparent that Leipsic — or some PR person who stewarded him through this fraud of an apology — actually understands why talking about women the way he did is poisonous and hateful. There’s no meaningful description of the harm, nor any grappling with why the harm happened, so there’s no evidence that he’s learned anything. And yet:
and sincerely apologize to everyone for my actions.
Who is receiving this apology? There are individuals named and pictured in Leipsic’s conversations, but for whatever reason they are not given the privilege of a direct apology to begin the effort of making them whole. Maybe Leipsic has reached out to them already separately. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt, but that would be foolish of me.
I am committed to learning from this and becoming a better person by taking time to determine how to move forward in an accountable, meaningful way. I am truly sorry.
This doesn’t mean anything. This is empty sophistry, vague beyond recognition. We made fun of this explicitly last year, back when nearly every authority figure in hockey revealed themselves to be absolute goblins. Leipsic has now joined their company, wrapped in hollow words, unlikely to learn anything or make any amends. His apology is just like his original comments; they’re both soaking in moral torpor. It is fucking shameful.
If you — and I hope this doesn’t happen — ever find yourself in Leipsic’s situation, you can begin the process of making it right. Making a better apology is prerequisite to making yourself a better person. You simply cannot do the latter unless you’re capable of doing the former. So here’s how that might look:
Recently, comments I made in a group chat were made public. In this chat I made mean-spirited remarks about the appearances of several women. These comments were hurtful and misogynistic, and I should never have made them. I have reached out to the women involved to offer my apologies directly, both for having made those comments and for the embarrassment I caused when they became public. I also apologize to all people who I insulted or were disappointed by my actions, which are below the standards set for me by my family and my team. I will take time to consider my behavior, how harmful it can be, and the attitudes within me that made them possible, so that I may never repeat this mistake. Thank you.
And thank you.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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