May 3, 2005

Albom says I'm sorry, you bastards . . .


Mega-selling author and newspaper sports columnist Mitch Albom has apologized for lying in his Detroit Free Press column last month . . . sort of. In his Saturday column, Albom asks God for help, and says “The last three weeks have been the darkest yet most enlightening of my professional life.” He says that despite the fact that he had “apologized on the front page of the sport section” already, “A volcano erupted. An explosion that mixed the criticism I deserved with a lava flow of anger, hate, self-righteousness and people who once called themselves friends preferring to act as my judge and jury.” What’s more, he complains, “In the race to report on my journalistic error, you could barely count the mistakes and falsehoods that were committed.” So, he continues, “it might be easy to go from sorry to screaming. Hate people back.” But he’s decided not to. He ends talking to the children he believes read his column, saying, “you kids need to know that what I did was a mistake. It was careless, and you should learn from it. Be better than I was on that day. Know that you can’t assume something is going to happen, even a sunrise, because the one time you write it as if it happened, the sun might not rise.”

MORE: In a story for Editor & Publisher, Joe Strupp reports that Free Press publisher Carol Leigh Hutton, who previously would not reveal if and how Albom would be disciplined, has now revealed that he will not be fired nor, it seems, otherwise punished. Says Hutton, “I have no intention of changing what he does for us or asking him to change what else he does.”

MORE: Read the 3 April column that started it all — in which Albom depicts a scene that never took place at a Final Four basketball game, featuring two former players who never went to the game.

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives