Mike Ashley Apologises and Attempts Nice Guy Reinvention

By Gary Cutlack on at

Mike Ashley would like it very much if we could remove his name from the Coronavirus Baddies list of people and businesses that have acted shabbily of late and we shall thus hate forevermore, as he's issued a letter of apology for the way his many operations reacted to government advice to shut up shop.

Ashley's Sports Direct was absolutely hammered for attempting to describe the outdoors goods chain as an essential business that should stay open amid the crisis – and for whacking up prices as its high street competition closed down – so it's going to take more for his redemption to be rubber stamped by the angels than one nice letter thanking his staff (who now assuredly hate him more than ever). Ashley also thanked the NHS for additional I'm-a-nice-guy points, saying he's proud of the health service, the government and the key workers out there keeping the country going.

Ashley's letter explains: "In hindsight, our emails to the government were ill-judged and poorly timed, when they clearly had much greater pressures than ours to deal with. On top of this, our communications to our employees and the public on this was poor," also adding that he is "deeply apologetic about the misunderstandings" triggered by his businesses' ballsy statements of the last week, although no one seemed to misunderstand anything at the time.

As a Scrooge-like, turkey-buying gesture of goodwill, he's put his entire fleet of lorries on standby to assist with NHS deliveries, should they be required. [Sports Direct [PDF] via BBC]