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How celebrities avoid real blame
I'm Guilty, But I'll Try Harder
By Al Owens
Hold on for a second. I feel some tears coming on! Ok I'm back. I was just
watching that news conference with Boston Red Sox outfielder Wilfredo Cordero
and his allegedly battered wife, Ava, and I got a little choked up. But I'm
Mr. and Mrs. Cordero have reconciled their differences, apparently, and now they
kissed and made up. At a news conference. Before the whole world. As if they
mean it. And as if anybody cares!
Another athlete calls a news conference to admit their guilt and I'm heading for
Within the past couple of months I've hardly been able to flip on my television
without some baseball player, golfer, basketball player, or sports- caster
admitting they've made some kind of mistake.
Just 9 days after Cordero was arrested and charged with domestic assault he and
his wife appeared on television to say, "I want everybody to know, we are
working through our problems".
Well I want everybody to know, I don't care!
Marcus Camby you got caught taking gifts from an agent in college. A clear
violation of NCAA rules. Now you've been busted for possession of marijuana and
a traffic violation. A clear violation of Connecticut laws.
What's the next natural thing to do? Of course, hold a news conference and say
utterly stupid things like, "I'm a strong guy with a strong mind and a strong
will and I think I can bounce back". Mr. Camby you get paid millions of dollars
to bounce a basketball. We don't care what else you bounce. Including
yourself... Knuckle head!!!!! I don't care if Dennis Rodman tearfully admits he
went overboard with his ill advised swipes at Mormans and their religion. Just
get me some rebounds and leave your apology at home.
Fuzzy Zoeller, if you really didn't mean those racist things you said about
Tiger Woods, you wouldn't have said them. People don't make jokes about things
they don't think are fundamentally true.
Marv Albert, we really didn't need a news conference and your denial of those
sexual assault charges. Especially since you didn't stay in front of the cameras
long enough after your denial to take questions about those charges!
A.J. Foyt, you beat up a competitor on camera. What makes you think an
appearance with before another camera, with an apology, would change anything.
Fact is, you assaulted somebody in front of 20 million people!
I hear, Frank and Kathy Lee Gifford could be next. There's a nasty rumor going
around those two are going to "work through", Frank's admitted infidelity on
Live with Regis and Kathy Lee.
On and on and on. These people believe they can plead their cases before the
American public, instead of in courtrooms or at their psychiatrists or at their
And they're sending one clear message to America's youth.. You can do anything
you'd like to do, Then call a news conference; Admit you've done it; Complain
you were just having a bad day; Swear it was all a big misunderstanding;
Tearfully blame it on your parents sending you to bed early, once, when you were
ten years old.
Say any and all of those things and you will be accorded lifelong clemency, in
the court of public opinion. Some morning I'd like to rob a gas station at gun
point and then get caught a few minutes later. By noon I'd jump before a camera,
with the owner of the gas station at my side, and tearfully say, "I'm sorry.
Hey, we're both sorry".
The gas station owner would then confer this upon the incredulous public. "Al
needs a little understanding. "He really didn't mean it. "The gun wasn't as
dangerous as it looks. "And besides he had that, 'I don't need this money, I'm
really a pretty nice guy,' look written all over his face". "We'll work through
our problems. "And besides, I'm as much to blame for owning a gas station as he
is for robbing one".
Sound silly? Well that's pretty much what Mrs. Cordero did on behalf of her
apparently abusive husband.
As a non-athlete I know I'd never get that chance. Athletes are smart enough to
pull that bit of trickery every time they get into some sort of trouble lately.
Entertainers too. Get caught with a prostitute. (Hold a news conference. Then
Get caught with a male prostitute dressed up like a woman. Hold a news
conference. Then apologize.
Get caught drinking while driving. Hold a news conference. Then apologize.
Why don't these people hold their news conferences and offer their apologies
first. Then they can go out and commit the crime. That way us television viewers
will know what to expect, and then we can avoid it!!
I've spent a few years in Hollywood. I know a little bit about how those people
think. A news conference can be a magical experience, the day after your busted.
I interviewed about two thousand actors and actresses. The one thing I've been
able to pull from that experience is that an actor who's riding the wave of
popularity doesn't really need an interview. Those are the ones that will
respectfully deny interview requests, every time. But let an actor get a parking
ticket, and he'll camp out in front of a Polaroid to try to plead for sympathy
After I'd spent a year or so on the job in Hollywood, I started finding out just
how flimsy these star's egos really are.
It occurred to me that our Entertainment Tonight Segment Producers, who aren’t
among our brightest citizens, would suggest (In writing) that we should ask
every single actor, "Why did you take this part?' It was the job of the Segment
Producer to secure and work out the logistics of interviews with movie stars and
They didn't really care what happened after these interviews were setup. They
just wanted volume.”
So there I'd be, asking a perfectly bad, and generally unemployed actor (who'd
just done 5 to 10 for armed robbery), "Why did you take this part?
I was always flabbergasted that not one gave me the honest answer. "I needed the
No! Not in Hollywood. The answers always boiled down to, "Well I think that at
this point in my career, it was the correct artistic direction in which to go".
Or "I'm an actor and I felt this was the proper area to spread my acting
Huh!! You needed the money. Nobody else would hire you. YOU needed the money.
You haven't worked in five years. YOU NEEDED THE MONEY!!!!
You needed the money, so you could buy a bottle of cheap wine, so you could
drive lit-up through a red-light district, so you could pick up a two headed,
one third alien, one third human, one third cross dressing undercover man-lady
of the night, so you could get caught running one of those red lights, so you
could get arrested for solicitation and DWI, so you could hold a news conference
the next morning, so you could say, "I'm sorry and I won't, except for the part
about the cross dressing alien sexually ambiguous prostitute, do it again"!
That's why you took that part.