Dirk Chatelain Apologizes for Cheap Shots at Taylor Martinez

Dirk Chatelain's back with a kind-of apology to Taylor Martinez. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

Just as the furor over Dirk Chatelain's "last chance" ultimatum to Taylor Martinez started to die down, the Omaha World-Herald reporter reopened debate with a partial apology for his article.

Some of my words were too personal for a college athlete. Too harsh for a 21-year old.

For example, in last Friday's column, I referenced Martinez "pouting" during a press conference. I suggested that he "stop with the 'Woe is me.'" I wrote that negativity in the fan base threatens to "sap his confidence."

For those comments and others like them, I apologize to Martinez.

Make it clear, Chatelain isn't apologizing for his conclusion that Martinez should be at the end of his leash. In that light, I frankly don't think this is much of an apology. A lot of people have called Bo Pelini "petulant" over his post-game press conference where he responded to Chatelain's repeated inquiries about Martinez. Frankly, I think Chatelain's "apology" is much more petulant.  Certainly, the act of writing and editing gave the World-Herald and it's reporter plenty of time to massage and consider what they were writing.  And this was what they chose to run?

This has all the makings of someone who's writing an apology because he's being forced to, not because he wants to. He's limited his apology to the meanest parts of the article. No apology for the conflicting logic of correctly realizing that Nebraska doesn't have any other quarterbacks who can challenge Martinez for playing time, then turning around and calling for those inferior, inexperienced quarterbacks to become the starter. 

Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star summed it up best on Monday:

By suggesting last week that Martinez should be one subpar outing from being benched, the quarterback's critics essentially backed Pelini into a corner -- the clear implication being that if Martinez fails, so does the head coach.

It seemed an extreme stance one game into the Big Ten schedule. It's an extreme stance, period, to place such dire consequences on a young player. One more chance, kid, you'd better not blow it, or else.

What are the consequences for those who casually put Martinez under the gun in that manner? That's right, there are no consequences.

In my opinion, it becomes an issue of fairness.

 

Chatelain didn't walk that back. He issued an apology because he had to, and found something minor that meant he didn't have to admit that his entire column was a mistake. I was reminded of Jim Tressel's early comments after Tattoo-gate came out; he was only going to admit to what he was forced to admit. It wasn't sincere. And frankly, Chatelain's apology smells the same.

This situation really should drop. I don't know what the purpose of this apology is.  People who supported Dirk haven't changed their minds; Dirk hasn't changed his tune about Pelini and Martinez. All it has done is reopen a can of worms that was already starting to fade into the past.  It actually makes things worse, because now we're talking about this whole ridiculous column once again. And some people are actually complimenting Dirk for being the "bigger man"?

This was a young reporter who got called out for going overboard.  And like a kid, someone in authority told him he needed to apologize. So he apologized.

Just not what he needed to apologize for.

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