Apology worthy of apology

Hawaii coach Greg McMackin apologized for a regrettable homosexual slur he made Thursday in a media briefing at the Western Athletic Conference football preview in Salt Lake City.

Today he'll probably apologize for the apology.

The second-year coach said that before last year's Honolulu Bowl with Notre Dame, each team performed a cheer at a dinner. He said the Fighting Irish did a "little faggot dance." The Warriors responded with a shaka, a traditional Hawaiian greeting gesture.

After using the slur, McMackin asked media in attendance not to report it. He used the slur two more times while begging for mercy.

He then returned and made a fumbling attempt at an apology. "I want to officially, officially apologize," the coach said.

He should have stopped there.

"Please don't write that statement I said as far as Notre Dame. The reason is, I don't care about Notre Dame. But I'm not a ... I don't want to come out and have every homosexual ticked off at me. You know what I mean? Because I don't have any problem with homosexuals."

• PIRATES PLUNDERED -- After three front-liners were traded Wednesday and Thursday, only one starter remains in the Pittsburgh Pirates' lineup from the group that opened the season

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called the Pirates "everybody's farm team -- a one-stop shop for any and all late-season needs."

Good news, Pittsburgh sports fans: Training camp opens today for the Super Bowl champion Steelers.

• OUT OF TUNE -- The Los Angeles Lakers certainly didn't acquire Ron Artest for his knack for writing rap lyrics. He has penned a tribute song to the late Michael Jackson entitled "I Cry for Mike/MJ Tribute."

Among the more unique passages: "What would you do if it wasn't for my dude, and your dude, he's our dude, he's a real type dude ..."

Heart wrenching.

But the most alarming prose -- especially in the midst of the Plaxico Burress self-inflicted gunshot saga -- is this wonderful image:

"Play 'Pretty Young Thing' when I'm chilling with my boo in the club, and even though I'm always strapped I'm puttin' down my mack, for mike jack."

Partial translation: "Boo" is girlfriend, "strapped" means carrying a firearm, and "mack" is reference to an automatic weapon.

Forget about ebonics. This is moronics.

• BECKHAM PAIN -- Pain is becoming commonplace for David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Last week, Major League Soccer punished him for a run-in with a Galaxy fan.

Now, it appears Beckham is the one in pain.

He missed the Galaxy's practice Thursday at the Home Depot Center because of back pain that he said flared up a few days ago.

Beckham, who has played in only two MLS games this season, said he hoped to resume training today to play for the Galaxy on Saturday.

The biggest "back" pain he's suffering is wanting to go back to Europe to play.