Making a mistake an uttering an apology used to be the end of trivial incidents such as this. Not any more.
In America, we have a "victim" culture. We have an entire class of "victims" who will proclaim they are victims whenever they perceive something that they believe is wrong. Unfortunately, the side effects of this victim mob mentality are that the rest of us are polarized and homogenized. As a clear minority, standing up to a victim mob could lead to your untimely death- or in Smith's case the unemployment line. On the other hand, ESPN could have done the right thing but clearly they felt the hot breath of the victim mob on the nape of their neck. So they chose the coward's route, the homogenized path, and they suspended Smith for a week. I guess that covers all their bases.
Responsible people understand that claiming "victim" status for yourself or your friends ensures self pity, whining, and inaction. Responsible people understand that the problem in any situation is themselves and their perceptions. In other words, if I have a wife who cheats on me...who's fault is that? If I have a job that pays poorly, who's fault is that? Once I discover that I am the problem, and that I have made poor choices, it is my job to make better decisions. In that way, I do not wallow in self pity, I have nothing to whine about, and I set about a course of action to improve my life.
Very often, I speak in public settings. I frequently use profanity because that is a part of who I am. I could probably change that- but I choose not to do so. Occasionally, someone will object to my speech (I am a victim of your speech) and make some hint or statement that they wish I would clean that up. Or that using profanity cheapens my message.
These are victim homogenizers. These are people with thin skins just looking for any opportunity to claim victim status, poor me types. Often these people are under the illusion that they alone know how the rest of the world should act and behave. They want everyone to behave according to their unwritten or undisclosed set of instructions. They want to homogenize our culture into some innocuous breed of people who all think and act alike. Or perhaps, they don't see that as the obvious by-product.
The problem with turning the microphone over to the "victim" class is that the victim class is growing- it is not shrinking. In fact, I think responsible people are becoming a minority if they aren't already.
The other problem is that intelligent and responsible people will not stand up to the victim class. They see no useful purpose in that. It will only create conflict they think, because you cannot reason with an idiot. Therefore, the victims feel empowered and emboldened. Without any obstruction the homogenizers can whine to their hearts content about every perceived wrong in the world- real or imagined- and continue their very best to turn us all into the plain vanilla culture that they so desire.
The worst example of this? Donald Sterling, the LA Clippers, and that class of people who believe that stripping you of your property and seizing it is acceptable behavior because you made some very minor and private- disparaging remarks about blacks.
Forgive me for stating the obvious truth here- but there is no bigger "victim" class than this country's liberals. These are the people who whine about everything. Just listen to them. They whine about "life isn't fair", they still blame Bush for everything wrong in America, they even whine about the pro football team which is named the "Washington Redskins." The liberal spokes person Hillary- is the latest to chime in on the issue. http://blogs.marketwatch.com/capitolreport/2014/07/30/hillary-clinton-washington-redskins-should-change-their-name/
I like America, un homogenized train wreck that we are. So...
Don't be afraid to push back a little with these assholes. Don't embolden the victim class. I am pretty good about picking my battles. I have publicly humiliated a couple of these self absorbed types when they throw some pity party wherein they are always the victim. They never do anything wrong.
It takes a little courage to stand up and say, ya know Steve Smith might not have said the best thing the other day- since then he has uttered a sincere apology and we're good with that. You should be too.
Beyond that, I have grown weary of the victim class telling me what to say, how to behave, and when they don't get their way- tattling to my employer or trying to appeal their case to some higher authority. What a bunch of pussies we've become. Recognize these whiners for who they are (cowards) and let them have it once in awhile. Slow them down a bit.