Column: K-State apology sorry excuse for an apology

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

One of these centuries, people will realize that the cover-up and accompanying non-apology apologies are always worse than the original transgression.

Bad idea for Kansas State: Play a football game vs. South Dakota, and during halftime use the band to form the mascot of your in-state rival, not on the schedule until Thanksgiving weekend. Am I missing something, or has K-State not dominated Kansas in football for a long time now?

A bad idea, using another school’s mascot, but in and of itself certainly nothing over which to apologize.

Worse idea: Have a long appendage of the Starship Enterprise enter the open beak of the Jayhawk in such a way that most people looking at the diagram of the formation or at pictures or videos of it in action feel as if they are viewing a simulation of a mascot and starship having sexual relations, depending upon what your definition of that is.

Even worse idea: Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State, issued an “if anybody was offended” non-apology favored by modern-day politicians.

Worst idea: Schulz then used the university’s website to send a letter of explanation for why sanctions are being taken against the band and band president, a letter that could best be summed up in one paragraph. My words, not his: “Way to go! I’m only handing out sanctions because the Big 12 is making me do so or accept their inevitable penalties that would be greater.”

And, oh by the way: The sanctions are for using another school’s mascot, not for using it to pleasure a space ship.

The letter starts with praise of the band for winning a national award. Evidently, Schulz must not have congratulated the band for it yet. The first three paragraphs of the seven-paragraph letter tell the band how wonderful it is. The rest of it explains the sanctions and makes sure everyone knows it’s because the Big 12 commissioner had a problem with the use of the Jayhawk. Not the misuse, mind you, just the use. How absurd!

Modern-day apologies that come with qualifiers aren’t apologies. So don’t apologize if you don’t think your school’s band did anything wrong. And don’t impose sanctions and then say you disagree with them. Let the conference punish you.

In Schulz’s letter to the band, he said he implemented a $5,000 fine that he later Tweeted will be paid by the president’s office, not the band. The band director is suspended for the football game against KU in Memorial Stadium.

In the letter Schulz also let everyone know he loves social media, except when he hates it.

It seems to me a less “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” path was available for Schulz to take.

1 . Announce that he is embarrassed that a formation that only would have been fitting had the band been playing a Barry White tune was not in keeping with K-State’s recent sportsmanship pledge.

2 . Launch an investigation designed at coming up with the truth about whether the sexual image was accidental or intentional.

3 . Either way, issue a public apology. Fire the band director for missing what appeared obvious both in a diagram of the formation and in pictures of it after it was executed.

4 . Pay the band director a nice severance package, taken out of the massive donations sure to be made to the K-State band from both Missouri and K-State fans, in that order, for a job well done up to and excluding Saturday.

(As for any thought that KU played the role of Linda Tripp here and pulled strings to commissioner Bob Bowlsby to take action, that was not the case. Kansas vice chancellor of public affairs Tim Caboni tweeted as much and encouraged readers to confirm that with Schulz by tweeting Schulz’s email address.)

5 . Announce that the band would not be allowed to play in Lawrence this year. After all, what if the band members decide to do the exact formation in Lawrence as a means of bringing the level of hatred in the rivalry to near-Missouri levels?

I can’t see that happening. Cooler heads will prevail, and porn will be left to porn stars, who do their work with neither cover-up nor apology.