Did Tiger Woods Ace the Public Apology?

Lynne Tirrell, a professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, who has written several articles on apologies, said timing may show genuine remorse.

"If an apology is going to have an effect -- which in some cases it's not going to do much -- delay is not always a bad thing, and sometimes delay indicates the graveness of the situation," said Tirrell.

Sometimes, Tirrell said, a quick apology may not be seen as meaningful.

Engel agreed that waiting to apologize is not always the worst tactic.

"It's insulting to have done something offensive to someone and then to not acknowledge it," said Engel. "The validation itself is significant and then the expressing regret."

Finding Sorry in an Apology

In recent years, most of the public apologies have come from celebrities and politicians whose misdeeds have been publicly aired. David Vitter, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, Chris Brown and former President Bill Clinton are among the many who have had to deliver their apologies to a crowd.

Are Celebrities Waking Up to 'True Apologies'?

But while public statements have grown in number, true apologies may not be on the rise.

"You come out with it because you talk to some public relations person who's told you [that you] need to get out in front of this," said Peele. "They all seem forced and artificial."

Many celebrities, he said, don't seem to express remorse, and he blames it on bloated egos.

"They're incapable, as starts, of acknowledging what they've done wrong," said Peele. "They just don't have the ability to do that."

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