We should all aspire to hold ourselves to a standard of waiting until we know all the facts before launching accusations at anybody and that is especially true for public figures. Maribeth Calabro, the president of the Providence Teachers’ Union, failed that test when she used her Facebook page to accuse the Pilgrim High School girls’ basketball team and their fans of an “abhorrent, disgusting display of blatant racism” during the game against Mt. Pleasant High School.
But today she issued an apology. And as far as apologies go, it’s really good.
Calabro did something that has become increasingly rare in our society—she took full ownership of a mistake, explained how it happened, apologized to everyone she believed she had wronged, and admitted that she had learned from the experience.
I doubt there’s anyone reading this who hasn’t, at some point, reacted too quickly and perhaps even posted something to social media before having all the facts.
I’ve certainly done it. The most vivid and recent memory of it for me is the Covington Catholic story when the media created a firestorm based on one image of Nick Sandmann, a high school student wearing a MAGA hat on a school trip to Washington, DC.
I don’t remember my exact words but I tweeted something disparaging or judgmental about the teenage boy whose face was suddenly everywhere, a boy about whom a fact-free narrative was spreading like wildfire and fit neatly into my own preconceived notions and biases.
I spent the next day watching every second of raw video I could get my hands and I quickly realized that I had been wrong. I had jumped aboard a bandwagon based on total lies, a bandwagon fueled by media gatekeepers who hated Nick Sandman long before they knew who he was.
I wrote about my mistake and shared my thoughts on what had really happened that day on the National Mall.
I have many differences of opinion with Maribeth Calabro—she is the president of a teachers’ union and I don’t believe unions belong anywhere near public education.
But I respect the apology she issued today. And I wanted to say so.