Earlier today I received two emails in response to my post on what I’m calling The Dibble Debacle, from MASN spokesman Todd Webster. Webster was kind enough to email me and others who blogged about the Dibble situation with links to two apologies from Dibble.
First, Dibble posted a blog on MASNSports.com titled “The greatness of baseball.” After talking about how much he respects women and their love of baseball, from his mother to his wife to his daughter, Dibble stated:
The other night I made an off-handed comment, the meaning of which may have been misconstrued beyond what was said. If any fan of this great game took offense, then he or she should know that this was neither my intention nor my history in the game.
Dibble: “Recently some things have come to my attention that, in cyberspace, some really toxic and hurtful things have been mentioned about me, something I said last week during a baseball game. To anybody that does not know me that was offended, or tool [sic] offense with what I said in my weak attempt to be humorous during a down time during the game, I truly apologize. That’s not truly how I feel about any baseball fan — men, women, or children. And so I wrote a blog, in my own words, not the words of other people who’d like you to think differently, on MASNSports.com. So, my humble and sincere apology if I offended anybody last week.”
First, I want to say thank you to Rob Dibble for addressing the topic and for apologizing. And thank you to Todd Webster for contacting all the bloggers and sending us these links. They could have just ignored it, and they didn’t. I appreciate that Dibble took the time to think about his female influences, and say that he has always respected women and understands how important baseball is to everyone, regardless of gender. I respect that Dibble is “humble and sincere” in his response, and I truly believe that he did not intentionally mean to offend anyone with his comments.
But the problem is, Dibble did not really apologize for what he said and he didn’t acknowledge that he can understand why it was construed the way it was. He said he’s sorry that people were offended by what he said, and he turned the table on us by saying that we said “toxic and hurtful” things about him. Yes, many of the blogs lashed out with comments that he is misogynistic and a jackass and should be fired, and so forth. But I think it’s pretty understandable why.
So it leaves those of us he addressed feeling a little, well, empty. As if what he said wasn’t wrong, we just took it that way.
Look, let me be the first to say that I don’t believe that Rob Dibble hates women. I don’t think that he was trying to alienate the female fan base or that he really believes women shouldn’t attend baseball games. But just because of that, it doesn’t mean his comments weren’t wrong. His comments were inappropriate, insensitive, and upsetting.
My least favorite kind of apology in the world is “if you were upset, then I’m sorry.” An apology like that absolves the apologizer from any fault and instead puts it back on the person who has been wronged. It is essentially the other person saying, “If you are so sensitive and/or stupid to have thought that I could possibly have done something wrong, then I’m sorry that you are so sensitive and/or stupid.
The whole thing reminds me of when we’re in a game thread and someone insults a player by saying he is gay or says that the umpire must be on his period and I… have to tell them it’s not ok. Chances are that the person saying that isn’t a homophobe or a sexist, and chances are that it didn’t even occur to that person that his words might be offensive. But that doesn’t mean those words aren’t wrong and it doesn’t mean it’s the fault of the person who doesn’t like them that they are. [more]
Thank you, Stacey, for saying what we all wanted to.
I posted a comment on Dibble’s blog tonight asking him to clarify what he meant by comments such as “There must be a sale tomorrow going on here or something” and “Their husbands are going man, don’t bring your wife next time.” Or the kicker, “there’s a new series Real Housewives of D.C. that just came out. Maybe they’re filming an episode?” If those comments were truly misconstrued by us as sexist, then what did Dibble really mean by them? Unfortunately, my comment has not yet been approved, though others by those who agree with Dibble and didn’t take offense to his comments have been. Oh well, I guess we’ll never know what he really meant, other than just to be humorous.
More on the topic from the following blogs:
Jake Whitacre at Half Smokes (SB Nation DC)
Tom Bridge at We Love DC
Dan Steinberg at DC Sports Bog (WashingtonPost.com)