There are two apologies to make this week. We are really, really sorry about Dennis Rodman.
This in no way is meant to cover up the fact that I have an apology of my own to offer; in last week's column, I incorrectly stated Chelsea midfielder Oscar had earned a penalty with his excruciating dive against Southampton last weekend. In fact, Oscar earned an Oscar for the dive but also a yellow card and no penalty resulted. Mea culpa.
Rodman also apologised this week during his visit to North Korea where, in an unintentionally grotesque and embarrassing Marilyn Monroe parody, he sang Happy Birthday to his "best friend", North Korea's Kim Jong-un, the new leader of the totalitarian regime that would be funny if it wasn't so dangerous. Ask his uncle, executed by Kim for plotting against him.
The apology wasn't for his dreadful singing nor the ludicrous piercings he wears nor for calling the tyrannical Kim "a good dad" - but for suggesting in a CNN interview that US citizen Kenneth Bae, arrested in North Korea for hostile acts (he is that ultimate subversive, a Christian missionary), deserved what he got when sentenced to 15 years' labour in a gulag where people are sometimes worked to death.
The sight of watching an internationally known sportsman prostrate himself before this odious regime was cringe-inducing. With his piercings jiggling as he sang - there are dentist drills that sounded better - and wearing preposterous sunglasses that made him look like a housefly, Rodman looked bizarre.
In the background, a hard-eyed Korean official stared at Rodman. His was the cliched inscrutable Asian face but it was possible to speculate that the thoughts racing through the official's mind at that moment were: Look at this ninny, enslaved by money, dancing like a tamed bear to our song.
Rodman cloaked his trip to North Korea - his fourth, accompanied by a group of other former NBA basketballers who played an exhibition match against a North Korean team who won in the last minute (what a surprise ... ) - in the pretence that this was "basketball diplomacy". That's a reference to the "ping pong" diplomacy of the 1970s when table tennis facilitated better relations between the US and China.
Sport can be a powerful agent of change - think South Africa; think Muhammad Ali, the greatest sportsman ever, who changed not just his sport but the world, encouraging tolerance of colour and religion.
Rodman changed his sunglasses.
Kim's is the regime ruled for many years by his father, Kim Jong-il, before his death.
Among the many ludicrous claims of a state propaganda machine that deified the family were that Kim senior could control the weather, according to his mood; his body never required him to defecate, lucky chap (there was no mention of flatulence ... ); and when the Dear Leader picked up a golf club for the very first time, at the opening of the Pyongyang Golf Club (North Korea's only 18-hole course), he blazed around in 38-under-par, including many holes in one. They were all applauded by an accompanying group of witnesses - I always take 17 security guards on my rounds of golf to witness my holes in one, don't you? - and news of the world's best round ever was released to an admiring planet.
The security guards earnestly confirmed the Dear Leader's brilliance, never quite mentioning that they would be handed their family's ashes in little clay pots before being fed to the pigs themselves if they demurred.
Honestly, watching Rodman sing to this lot was like seeing a sheep raped by a lion. He just didn't have the brains to carry off the 'basketball diplomacy' thing, even if anyone believes, as his agent maintains, his trip wasn't about money and continuing to boost his tired old 'bad boy' image.
My wife's got dresses with a bigger IQ than Rodman. Actually Rodman has dresses (he infamously appeared in a wedding dress to promote his book) with a bigger IQ. He doesn't dye his hair, he's just prematurely green.
You can't help but recall tennis player John McEnroe's riposte to a noisy heckler at Wimbledon: "What problems do you have, apart from being blind, unemployed and a moron?"
Rodman doesn't even have the sense to know when he is being used by a dangerous regime. That's the real tragedy of his visit - even more than the fact that he has probably helped Kim resist any urge he may have felt to release Bae.
Some years ago, I visited Panmunjom, the so-called armistice village on the 38th parallel. There is a white line drawn on the floor of a building which straddles the boundary between the two Koreas. It is one of only two buildings I have ever been in which I could feel death (the other was the gas chamber at Dachau). On either side of the white line, a North Korean guard, fully armed and in dress uniform, stood stiffly to attention, eyeballing a US guard - fully armed and in dress uniform - who was doing the same thing; the two men were chest-to-chest, centimetres away from each other; light years apart in ideological and political intent. It was a chilling and fascinating glimpse of man's idiocy.
Just north of Seoul, in North Korea, is a huge dam. This was built for water supply, yes, but also has the happy by-product of being able to flood Seoul if the North ever decides to pull the plug.
Just last week, Max Hastings (the former Daily Telegraph editor and one of the leading writers who covered the Falklands War) wrote an excellent piece in the Daily Mail about the current political knife edge between China, Japan and the US - and how an accident could spark a nuclear-powered conflagration. North Korea is one of the sparks that could leap from the fire - and that is the environment into which Rodman stumbled.
Go home, Dennis, fetch your brain from the hat box in the closet where you left it and pen a sincere letter of apology to the Bae family, saying how you didn't mean to do anything which would keep him in the labour camp longer.
Then retire your 52-year-old ass.