No one is perfect. People mess up. Companies, which are run by people, mess up. What happens after that mess up MATTERS. Apologies have washback, both positive and negative – Paula Deen is a recent example of “apologies” gone awry.

Here’s how to give a sincere apology:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a88OrrIsC-8]

Step 1: Be sincere
Step 2: Take 100% responsibility.
Step 3: Say “I’m sorry” or “I apologize.”
Step 4: Avoid “I’m sorry, but…”
Step 5: Apologize quickly

This week there were two companies whose actions resulted in negative feedback from the grappling community, and especially from the women’s grappling community.

One was Grappler’s Planet. I wrote a blog post about the “parody” video they posted, and their poor and dismissive responses to their negative feedback. This morning I woke up to this apology:

Hi Julia

We have decided to pull the video. We continue to support Cindy in her efforts and want to extend that support to all grapplers, female or otherwise. The video was undermining that support and we recognize it was doing the whole sport a disservice, not just females.

Your voice does have power and we are listening. We thank you for your feedback as we hope to make not only the mats but our little corner of the internet a safe and inviting place for people to share in the love of BJJ without limitations. If admitting we were wrong helps that to become a reality for women grapplers, it’s a small price to pay for strengthening the community as a whole.

~ Sen (GP Admin)

They pulled the video, they issued an apology on my blog, and issued an apology on their Facebook page, which has 26,000 “likes.” Without question this was a classy, mature move, and I respect them a lot for this. They took responsibility, they took action, they handled it in a mature and professional way, and they left a very positive impression with me. Sincerely, bravo, Grappler’s Planet.

The other poor interaction in women’s grappling this week was with a company called Dojo Direct. Georgette posted all about it on her blog, and here are the highlights:

Pippa Granger had a very negative interaction with Dojo Direct.

And yes, "spelt" is spelled correctly.

And yes, “spelt” is spelled correctly.

This company took neutral feedback and responded hostilely, made a personal attack on her, and made a clearly sexist remark to her – about her period. It was stunning. A followup message by another woman led them to say “shit happens” and then respond to an admittedly childish response from this woman by saying “pretty childish for a woman of your age.”

They ended up issuing an apology to Pippa. There was a “public” one on their Twitter site, which has 3 followers. It said “Dojo Direct apologizes to @pippa_banana for the inappropriate behavior from our colleague yesterday. Appropriate action has been taken.” To my mind, this was okay, but still vague.

They also sent a personal apology to Pippa via PM on Twitter, which she kindly posted screen shots of. But the apology left a bad taste in my mouth – and to others as well.

I sincerely apologize for my childish remark yesterday, it was totally uncalled for and I am sorry for the offense i caused. It was foolish of me to mention about sensitive issues. I understand you are passionate about Jiu Jitsu thank you for correcting my spelling. Please accept my apologies, I didn’t intend to offend you, if I did it wasn’t intentional.

I would like to send free gift on behalf of the company for the trouble this has caused. If you send me an address to send it to, either home or a dojo you train in I will send it straight away.

I’d like to sum up. Dojo Direct says “I take it your menstrual cycles are premature, or your just an angry woman in general.” However, it was not intended to offend.

Sorry, Dojo Direct, your apology was insincere. It’s clear you intended to insult Pippa. There is absolutely no reason a company would ever need to mention a woman’s menstrual cycle in this manner. There is no justification for this whatsoever. Blaming a woman’s response on her period was not “foolish” nor a “sensitive subject.” It was rude and wrong. Then, unfortunately, they offered a free product, which felt more like they were buying her off than backing up an apology.

Bravo, Grappler’s Planet. Thank you for listening to the voice of the minority and being responsible with your social media. You gave an excellent example of what an apology should look like.

Have any companies issued apologies or non-apologies that left an impression with you – either positive or negative? Please leave the story below!