Realizing what Sir Charles didn't

    Charles Barkley once said, “”I am not a role model.””

    He intended this quote to express his lack of desire to have his life scrutinized, so that he might be free to live the way he wanted without the eyes of the public upon him. Charles, it’s just not possible.

    The responsibility of conducting oneself in a positive manner is inherent in being a public figure. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way.

    In my last column, I wrote some very scathing and imprudent comments about the students of Cal State San Bernardino and the surrounding community. It was my belief that these comments might be read by a few UCSD students who would get a little laugh from them, and then that my words would fade into obscurity. I was very wrong.

    News of my column spread to San Bernardino rather quickly, and within days I was receiving condemning e-mails and hearing word that I’d offended a great deal of people.

    When a reporter from the San Bernardino Sun asked to talk to me, I realized that this issue had become bigger that I’d ever imagined it would be.

    I re-read the column I’d written with a fresh perspective. I put myself in the shoes of the people about whom I’d written, I saw the conclusions I would have drawn, and I realized just how cheap some of the shots I’d taken had been.

    I felt bad. All of Halloween night I laid in bed thinking. With fear, trepidation and remorse, I lay there, looking up at the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling above me, wondering how many writers before me had stared at stars slightly more permanent and thought the same thing.

    I went too far. I tried to be humorous and engaging and I ended up being a jerk. Now how can I make it right? There’s really only one thing I can say.

    I apologize.

    I apologize to the students of CSUSB, to the people of San Bernardino, and to you, my readers. In writing what I wrote, and in saying things that I do not honestly believe, I was not loyal to you or my purpose. My words were immature and went outside the boundaries of good taste, and I’m sorry.

    I don’t apologize because I have to; public figures have escaped removal from office and murder convictions without an apology. I apologize because I know that I was wrong and because I’m coming to realize what Charles Barkley did not.

    I am a role model. By putting my name and face next to these words I endorse them and agree to a contract by which I allow my indiscretions to be scrutinized. Life in the public eye — no matter how small the public or how watchful the eye — demands holding one’s behavior to a higher standard.

    I failed to meet that standard, and I’ve learned my lesson. Once.

    This won’t happen again.

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