The Chris Brown apology for assaulting Rihanna fell well short of the mark. He pleaded guilty to one count of felony assault. The police photos of Rhianna's injuries were pretty gruesome; she obviously suffered a severe beating with multiple injuries to her face and body.
When I look at it now, it's just like, wow, like, I can't believe that that actually happened.
I've told Rihanna countless times and I'm telling you today, I'm truly, truly sorry that I wasn't able to handle the situation both differently and better.
His apology also included a direct mea culpa to his fans:
I only can pray that you forgive me, please.
I take great pride in me being able to exercise self control and what I did was inexcusable.
I am very sad and very ashamed of what I have done.
I have let a lot of people down and no one is more disappointed in me than I am.
I grew up in a home where there was domestic violence and I saw first-hand what uncontrolled rage can do.
I continue to seek help to make sure that what occurred in February will never happen again.
I will do everything in my power to make sure that it never happens again.
In addition to pleading guilty to one count of felony assault, the apology was followed by a plea deal that included attending anger-management courses, seeking additional therapy, and performing community work.
Chris Brown Apology Evaluation
There are at least two serious problems with his apology.
First, Rihanna reportedly rejected the apology as cavalier and arrogant. She felt that he clearly avoided accepting responsibility for his actions and failed to convey the kind of remorse she believes he should have for doing what he did.
Brown was probably worried about controlling the damage from his actions and preferred to protect his fan base rather than honestly conveying an appropriate measure of contrition to his former girlfriend.
But the second and more serious problem with the Chris Brown apology was what happened two years later. Apology evaluations are not static ratings that can be assigned to an apology like a grade on an exam—perfect apologies must include a commitment to make things right, and as time goes on the assessment of that commitment could be re-evaluated.
On this point the Chris Brown apology ultimately came up very short.
On Wednesday, March 23 2011, Brown reportedly trashed ABC Good Morning America's set after an interview to promote his new album. When asked on the GMA show about the restraining order Brown replied by sidestepping the issue:
It's not really a big deal to me now as far as that situation... I'm past that in my life (and) I could care less about what anybody else thinks.
Brown then shifted the focus back to his new album. The interviewer continued to push the issue and, after the interview, Brown, angered by the experience, reportedly flew into a rage destroying property and breaking a window. Obviously the anger management courses Brown agreed to complete did not work.
Perhaps the clearest indication of a perfect apology is proof of a serious effort to make the changes in ways that avoid repeating the same mistakes—Brown obviously failed.
If Brown couldn't prevent a pretty clear expression of his anger in a very public setting (on this issue) then it's highly unlikely he has learned his lessons.
Some legal experts have stated that Brown's actions constituted a violation of his 5 year probation.