I Forgive Dog the Bounty Hunter
by Darryn "Dutch" Martin (bio)
I won't deny that I was sickened and repulsed when I first heard the racial tirade of reality television bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman. Despite the fact that it occurred in a private telephone conversation with his son Tucker that Tucker later sold to the National Enquirer, I still couldn't help but be offended and angry at what I heard coming from the mouth of this very public man.
In the call, Chapman complained viciously about his son's black fiancé. In his rage, he used the "n-word" several times. As a result of the tape being made public, the A&E cable network has suspended airing his show indefinitely.
After watching Chapman's emotional and heartfelt interview with Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel's "Hannity and Colmes," however, I now sincerely believe he is sorry for what he said and I believe he should be forgiven for his comments.
In watching Chapman during the interview, listening to him apologize over and over and seeing his eyes fill with tears on more than one occasion, I couldn't help but feel for the guy. Although he explained the full context in which the conversation with his son Tucker took place, not once did he make any excuses for his actions. He emphasized that he had no one to blame but himself, and the look on his face when the tape replayed was that of pure remorse.
I didn't see a racist at that time. I saw a contrite man sincerely sorry for his transgression who was taking steps to redeem himself. I saw a fellow human being who, like all fellow human beings, is flawed and apt to err. I saw a man who, instead of trying to pass the buck in an effort to save his own hide, took full responsibility for his actions and is willing to suffer the consequences and do whatever is necessary to earn his redemption.
Another reason why I feel Chapman should be forgiven and allowed to get on with his life and career is because there are other high-profile public figures who have said and done considerably worse, but who have never repented.
Remember twenty years, ago, when Al Sharpton defamed then-Dutchess County District Attorney Steven Pagones during the Tawana Brawley hoax? Despite the fact that a jury awarded Pagones $345,000 in a defamation suit against Sharpton and his associates (Sharpton's portion was paid by somebody else, by the way), Sharpton has never - I repeat, never - apologized to Pagones for purposely defaming him and trying to ruin the man's life.
In fact, the Brawley family is now seeking to re-open the case! There is no regret.
Remember, during the Duke lacrosse non-rape scandal, when Jesse Jackson vowed to finance the college education of accuser/liar Crystal Gail Mangum? Did he ever come out and admit after the charges were dropped that he and others, such as the despicable, disgraced and rightly disbarred Mike Nifong, erred horribly in their rush to judgment? Has Jackson apologized to David Evans, Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty for participating in their condemnation in the court of public opinion? Has he ever admitted how wrong he was in taking part in making the lives of these three young men a living hell? Of course not. In fact, when Sean Hannity recently called him on it, Jackson did his best to spin his way out of it by claiming the he never said anything wrong and was confident the justice would ultimately prevail.
If there were ever two individuals in the world in dire need of repentance for their public trangressions, those two con artists definitely fit the bill. In comparison, because of his contrite apology, Duane "Dog" Chapman has my complete forgiveness and blessing. I wish him no ill will and hope that he, and our country, can soon move past this.
Al and Jesse: I'm willing to forgive you as well, but you've got to mean it.
# # #
Darryn "Dutch" Martin is a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network. Comments may be sent to Project21@nationalcenter.org.
Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints
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