It's a given that he didn't handle himself well, even he knows that now. And he's already paying a high price for it with the loss of his sponsorship deal with Ranger Boats. It's tough that some would say that Ranger Boats threw Mike under the bus when surely it was his own actions that lead them to make what had to be a difficult decision.
Never the less I'm sure Ike will hang on to the majority of his sponsors and will suck it up and fish well in the time to come. Some sponsors have already come out and stated that there is still a huge up side to their relationship with him.
The wording of the apology wasn't what a lot of folks would have wanted but it was, I believe, heart felt and has been modified to retract what was likely the ramblings of a guy looking to explain what he thought happened and how it lead to the outcome of so many dead or dying fish coming to the scales.
Being the aggressive competitor that Ike is it had to be extremely deflating to see your Classic winning dreams go down the tubes with a bunch of floating fish staring back at you from a livewell.
The unfortunate outburst that followed that realization is what has so many folks up in arms with him. Handling the American flag in such a manner is justifiably something to get really bent out of shape about. Handling a running light in that manner is surely something much lesser and I've personally seen it happen before so I don't really hold that against him nearly as much as a negative issue. Both point to the need for a possible look into anger management therapy.
Sadly Ike just lost it as some likely would have. It was the way he vented that frustration, without conscience of what he was doing or who was around him, that is going to follow him for some time.
I've had my problems with Ike's antics of the past but I've also had a high amount of admiration for his fishing ability as well. I'm going to suggest that piling on Ike now accomplishes little. Yeah, he's been an easy target to pick on, what with the dancing in the boat and the big productions after catching a fish, but I'm not sure it was all as contrived as many would suggest. I'd like to think that he's the type of guy that'll put it out in front every time for all to see, like it or not.
And I'm willing to accept his apology, altered and edited or not, as simply that… an apology for losing it in the worst of all ways and the worst of all times. I don't need a statement of contrition custom made for me and I won't further judge him on the statement he's made to the public.
For me it's far more important for my own well being to accept his apology and move on. Yeah, I'll still have the vision of what transpired in my head but that to will wane with the passage of time. I am and have always been a strong believer in forgiveness and I believe that most fans of bass fishing are as well.
It simply eats at our own souls to carry grudges through life and I'd suggest that Ike be given his space and with time will prove himself worthy of all the accolades that come with fishing triumphs and the joys of success in his chosen profession.
Let’s stop the piling on and look to forgive, forget and move on. I can and will and hope many others will also.