More specifically, you don't speak any French. And when you are the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, that is a problem. The Associated Press reported on Monday that the team's general manager apologized to its fans for Randy Cunneyworth's language faux pas.
The team's general manager took the unusual step of issuing a qualified apology, barely two weeks into the reign of new coach Randy Cunneyworth.
The Dec. 17 hiring of Cunneyworth, on an interim basis for the rest of the season, touched off a language controversy. He is the team's first coach in decades unable to speak French.
"I'm sorry if we upset people. Because that certainly wasn't our intention," Pierre Gauthier told reporters Monday.
It was a far cry from the defiant response Gauthier offered last month, when a reporter asked about Cunneyworth's inability to communicate with francophone fans in their language. At the time, his testy reply was that languages could always be learned.
On Monday, he stressed that Cunneyworth's hiring was not necessarily permanent and he said his status would be re-examined after the season.
"What will happen in the future, at the end of the season, is that we will re-evaluate the whole file," Gauthier said.
"As (owner Geoff) Molson said in his communique a week ago, it's very important to us that our head coach be bilingual.
"So that will be part of our decision at that point."You can "interpret" those words any way you want.