Washington Times sportswriter John Mitchell has issued a public apology for last week’s outburst against Len Shapiro. Well, sort of.

For those not following the catfight: Mitchell, who didn’t like the non-appreciation Shapiro wrote for Sean Taylor when the Redskins star’s body was barely cold, called the Washington Post veteran a “racist, conniving skunk” and a “racist, conniving dog of a skunk” on the WOL-AM sports-talk show, The Sports Groove.

The burgeoning brouhaha got the sort of attention that writer-on-writer verbal violence typically gets in Internet media gathering spots.

And it sure looks like that attention inspired the posting Mitchell made over the weekend on his newspaper’s blog, which ranks among the least sincere and sorriest “I’m Sorry!”‘s ever banged out on a keyboard.

Mitchell starts off his alleged mea culpa, written in the form of an open letter to Shapiro, sounding contrite. He writes that he “got caught up in the emotion of it all” and that the dog-calling diatribe he directed at Shapiro was “an egregious mistake.”

“Len, you didn’t deserve to be attacked like that,” Mitchell writes.

But before long Mitchell makes a U-turn, and begins arguing that, well, Shapiro probably did deserve the bash. Mitchell even adds that at least one important player on the local sports scene has his back, though this player apparently won’t put his name to this alleged backing of Mitchell.

“[O]ne Wizard who saw what I said reported on local blogs voiced his support of my position with a protracted hug and a handshake prior to the game in Philadelphia,” Mitchell wrote.

And before closing, Mitchell finishes his journey from “Forgive me!” to “Take that!” by informing Shapiro “you now appear to be dead wrong in your rush to judgment” about Taylor’s behaviors playing a role in his murder.

Meanwhile, Shapiro and Sports Groove host Mark Gray seem ready to let things pass. Shapiro was on Gray’s show live for 45 minutes on Friday night, and they told each other they weren’t totally proud of what was written in the paper or went out over the airwaves.

The only obvious sore feelings in the super-long segment came about 10 minutes in, when Gray identified Shapiro as a writer with “the Washington Times.”

Washington Post, thank you!” Shapiro blurted, as if he found Gray’s innocent gaffe more painful than Mitchell’s blindside hits.

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