Monday, 16 August 2010

“I was misquoted”, the excuse nobody buys anymore!


There is an old Groucho Marx one-liner which goes “quote me as saying I was misquoted”. Unfortunately, there is nothing funny about the increasing numbers of those in the public eye who resort to this defence when their mouths run away with them.

Current US Ryder Cup Golf captain, Corey Pavin is the latest case in point. When asked by a journalist at the USPGA Golf Championship, which finished yesterday, whether he would select Tiger Woods for the team Pavin was, apparently, unequivocal. ““Of course I’m going to. He’s the best player in the world.”

However, once he was reminded that a: Woods is playing incredibly badly at the moment and b: that it’s not much of an endorsement for the other players who are hoping to get a pick and are playing much better, he started to rapidly backtrack.

Of course he didn’t directly approach the journalist or use a press conference he twittered the following: “For the record, Jim Gray misquoted me re: picking Tiger. I never said such a thing and won’t say such a thing until 09.07 [the date when the team is actually picked].
Inevitably, the journalist in question was furious, his professional credibility called into question in a very public way. Most interestingly though in a poll on another journalist’s website, geoffshackelford.com, the vast majority of people backed Gray rather than Pavin.

So I have news for those in public life who are liable to put their brains into neutral and let their mouths off the leash, like Ian Poulter (“I’m the best golfer in the world”), Michelle Obama (“If McCain wins I’m leaving America”) Glenn Hoddle (“disabled people are paying for the sins of previous lives”) and Leighton Baines, the Everton fullback (“I’m not sure I want to go to the World Cup, I get homesick”).

My message is, nobody is buying this anymore, you just need to swallow your pride and say the following: “I shouldn’t have said that, I made a mistake”.

Believe me, it will all go away much quicker.

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