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Apologetic Cooke speaks to the media, vows to change

Mar 23, 2011, 2:02 AM EDT

Matt Cooke

On Tuesday, recently suspended Matt Cooke spoke to the Pittsburgh media about his illegal elbow to Ryan McDonagh’s head and the subsequent suspension handed down from the NHL. Despite his impending 14+ game suspension, it was his public comments that would allow the healing to begin and the public sentiment to subside. Let’s be honest, it was only a matter of time before he finally apologized for one of these hits. Now that he’s apologized, the NHL community will decide the next step.

In his comments, Matt Cooke was contrite and sounded genuinely remorseful for his actions. Here’s a sample of his comments:

“I realize and understand, more so now than ever, that I need to change. That’s what I wanted my message to be.”
“I made a mistake. I’m the one that’s accountable for that. I take full responsibility for it. I’m sorry to my teammates, my management, my coaching staff and my organization. It’s something that, moving forward, I’ll make different.”
“I’m fortunate that Ryan McDonagh wasn’t hurt. I don’t want to hurt anybody. That’s not my intention. I know that I can be better. As I just said, my actions will speak louder than words. That’s what matters most.”

Whenever an athlete (or public figure for that matter) makes an apology, the general public will usually fall into one of two categories. The optimists who hear the apologetic words will want to believe Matt Cooke. They’ll want to hear the words and believe that this is the end—this time it’s different. He’s seen the err of his ways and knows he needs to get it together or he won’t get another chance.

For people who want to believe Cooke, the comments hit on all the issues he needed to address. He said he needs to change. He acknowledged that his team is unwilling to stand behind him this time. He said he needs to change. He said he didn’t want to hurt his opponent. He mentioned that only his actions will speak louder than words. And he said he needs to change.

On the other hand, pessimists will say the words Cooke said to Pittsburgh reporters were nothing more than rehearsed words designed to cool the angry people around the NHL. They’ll say he delivered the same speech that all athletes deliver when they are punished for crossing the line. They won’t believe Cooke because they’ve seen it too many times. They’ve seen him break the rules and receive a suspension; only to break the rules again and receive another suspension. They’ll ask why this time will be any different.

What do you think? Does Matt Cooke’s public apology do anything to make you change your opinion or were the words just part of the process? Let us know in the comments.

  1. donttouchthedirtypenny - Mar 23, 2011 at 6:23 AM

    Cooke is still an idiot. Where was the apology for the Savard hit? No apology — does that mean he meant to hurt Savard? Where’s the apology for the other suspensions this year?

  2. joepags - Mar 23, 2011 at 8:12 AM

    i think hes more sorry he lost over 200,000 in pay! im sure he will change his style of play if he still wants to be employed in the NHL, only a matter of time. even tho im not a pens fan i still like guys who cheap shot, as long as its within reason

  3. Rosenthals Speling Instrukter - Mar 23, 2011 at 8:51 AM

    I can change (Russian translation) and you can change (Russian translation)….everyone can change (Russian Translation)…..(Music kicks in) Hearts on fire…

  4. spizzjr - Mar 23, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    I believe Cooke is sorry for THIS latest incident. I think he finally splashed some water on his face, took a deep stare into the mirror and then realized I’m a goon people see me as a dangerous player who is making a joke of a great game. Hockey has always struggled we have some of the greatest hockey players in the world in the NHL and yet teams struggle. The U.S. Has many teams in places where there is a minimal hockey fan base at best. Not just Cooke but dirty hits from all players as well as suspensions this year alone feels like a record high so far. Hockey season has to compete with basketball all season long, as well as football for some months, and baseball in the late. Regular season and throughout the playoffs. The NHL is losing fans because of the increased violence. I personally love the physicality but it’s gone too far recently. I am a die hard passionate islander fan and I like Trevor gillies I like the presence and intensity he brings to the team, BUT AS MUCH AS I LIKE HIM I FOUND THE TANGRADI INCIDENT DEPLORABLE. He hit him realized he was hurt and started beating him up and then taunted him from the runway he deserved a longer suspension. I say again I believe Cooke was sorry I am 98% sure he will have at least one more suspension before his current contract expires.

    • capsrockva - Mar 29, 2011 at 3:43 PM


  5. jpelle82 - Mar 23, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    as a pens fan I really dont care…he should be released from the penguins…period.

  6. farvefromover - Mar 23, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    I would love to spit in Matt Cooke’s face

  7. crosbyhasgonorrhea - Mar 23, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    When will he apologize for ending Savard’s career?
    Oh, no suspension attached to that one, guess he isn’t sorry for it.

    It will be interesting to see if those Penguins fan keep hating on Cooke if he scores a big goal after his return. Most Eagle fans said they would never cheer for Mike Vick, but the #7 Eagles jersey is one of the hottest sellers in the NFL today.

    Funny how redemption and winning are tied together.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:39 PM


    • johninpa - Mar 25, 2011 at 2:56 PM

      Why wouldn’t redemption and winning be tied together? He’s an athlete, he supposed to help his team win. I don’t like dirty hits in hockey, but I sure like a hard nosed, competitive athlete. Matt Cooke makes a positive contribution to the Pens, and I’m sure they will miss him. I hope he makes the change needed to avoid the dirty hits, and plays smarter than he has in the past. So, when he comes back and plays clean but hard, and helps the Penguins win, I guess that will gain him redemption in my eyes.

      If you are going to take Cooke to task for the Savard hit, I sure hope your writing is as hateful toward Chara for his hit that received no suspension.

      • capsrockva - Mar 29, 2011 at 4:01 PM

        Cooke doesn’t know how to play clean. Let’s face it he is a dirty player

      • capsrockva - Mar 29, 2011 at 4:32 PM

        Chara’s hit was perfectly legal unlike Cookes

    • capsrockva - Mar 29, 2011 at 4:07 PM

      I agree

  8. capsrockva - Mar 29, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Matt Cooke is a dirty player period. I think he will get suspended again.I agree with Mike Milbury

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