Donovan Edwards Tries To Apologize For Antisemitic Retweet 10 Months After The Fact, Fails Miserably
Last October, Donovan Edwards retweeted an antisemitic video, as well as antisemitic musings from Kanye West. He called it a "glitch," ostensibly implying he hadn't meant to retweet that offensive content.
Edwards faced no consequences, let alone discipline, from Michigan. In fact, a few days after the controversy Edwards earned his first career start.
Jim Harbaugh later said he would be taking the entire team to the local Holocaust museum, an obvious attempt to smooth things over for Michigan football's PR and, more importantly, to assuage concerns from some of the program's biggest donors, several of whom are Jewish.
Michigan's perhaps biggest benefactor is Stephen Ross, the billionaire real estate developer who has gifted millions to his alma mater in Ann Arbor over the years — enough so that the university's business school bears his name.
Harbaugh's official title, by the way, is the Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach, eponymously honoring J. Ira Harris, a Michigan alumnus who was a prominent attorney and important figure in the Jewish community.
On Friday, Edwards spoke to reporters as part of Michigan football's regular media availability. After he had finished taking questions, he wrapped up his time apologizing, unsolicited, for his racist retweet from 10 months ago.
What ensued was a rambling mess that likely increased the blood pressure of U-M's PR staff members into hypertension. You can watch it in the video below.
That is a truly incredible video, so much so that we must annotate it.
The thing that I learned from that is I can't allow a caption to define who I am. Because, if I can explain for myself that in that context. Nobody listened to what Kanye West said.
Oh boy. This is off to about as good a start as Michigan's College Football Playoff semifinal versus TCU.
What Kanye West said is the people who are the higher ups — we all know who higher ups are. It's like Coach Harbaugh to us, he's the higher up. What he says goes. In that context, for me, I'm a black male, and I look at that very specifically.
And it's like, black people are getting diminished. We're looking at, like, celebrities and, like, they're telling us this and that, and that and we're listening to some of the rap lyrics, like, we're depriving ourselves, and we all know this.
Precisely, like, none of this sounds like an apology so far.
Black people are depriving ourselves of, you know, like, race, calling girls names, talking about robbing, stealing, killing, that's not good. You know, so that's why, you know, I retweeted what I retweeted.
We are completely off the rails now.
It's not about I hate Jewish people. I don't hate Jewish people.
Maybe lead with that.
Black people are Jewish, too. You know, just, like, how there's many other races that are other [religions]. You know, I don't hate Buddhist people. I don't hate Muslim people. I love all races because all religions are right. You know, all religions have the same thing, and that is to love God and to treat your neighbor accordingly, and to love each other in the way that you love yourself.
OK, this is sounding a lot better!
So, I've learned a lot from that and that's why I don't deprive myself of who I am, because I know who I am. If you ask people in this building who really know me, they will say I'm a great person. And I believe that myself too.
Aaaaand there goes all that progress. An "apology" that includes a couple of lines of character testimony from teammates, coaches, AND YOURSELF isn't much of an apology.
What did I gain from it? Truth be told is that, you know, I've hurt people and I can live with that because now I can build people up. I may have made people's trust not be there from me but I don't care, you know? Because people don't know who I really am. They don't know the context of what I saw and what I retweeted, the real video, not what a person said about it.
We've reached the defiance stage of the non-apology apology.
You know, I'm not gonna lie, like, I was kind of − I'm not gonna say what I gotta say, because it's all right.
Because all sincere apologies include moments like this.
But I learned a lot, to be honest with you. And I know that. I know that. If I continue to be who I am, you know, I could gain that. I could gain people's trust back.
You hear that, folks? He learned a lot from this experience. He definitely learned a lot from this experience! You can tell from this very sincere apology, in which he referenced his own greatness and just barely engaged his own internal filter before he stepped in it again.
I have to believe Edwards went rogue here. It's evident he had not been coached up by Michigan's PR staff, nor were his comments prepared for him. U-M is one of the very best when it comes to controlling narratives and bending the media to its will. That train wreck of an "apology" doesn't have any Michigan PR fingerprints on it. Plus, U-M had already buried this story. Edwards called it a glitch and Harbaugh said it was no big deal because he'd take the kids on a field trip to the local Holocaust museum. No PR professional would advise dredging up a nearly one-year-old controversy.
It was fascinating to watch, though. You'd think someone from West Bloomfield, a town with a considerable Jewish community, who grew up about 10 miles from a Holocaust memorial would be a little more sensitive to these kinds of issues. But, then again, we're talking about a guy who recently proclaimed he'll revolutionize the running back position, even though he's No. 2 on the depth chart.