The only way that anyone is ever going to defeat Joe Riley is to catch him like a leprechaun and shake him silly until he hands over the pot of gold that holds the keys to his office, his City Hall parking pass, and the lucky shamrock that deflects criticism anytime one of his trusted underlings comes under fire for one muck up or another.

Wait, wait. I take that back. I didn’t mean what I just said. It was never my intention to offend anyone with my remarks. I’m sorry for any misunderstanding. Seriously. I did not mean to denigrate Mayor Riley and his people, the enchanted folk of the Emerald Isle.

What? You mean the mayor isn’t a leprechaun? You must be joking. I mean, not only is the dude like three apples high, but he’s had the good fortune of holding on to the mayor’s office for 35 blooming years. Only someone with magical faerie blood can pull that off.

Next you’ll be telling me that a normal human being can win the U.S. Open two times, the British Open three, and both the PGA Championship and the Masters four times, all before the age of 32.

Which brings us to Golf Channel announcer Kelly Tilghman and comments she made regarding Tiger Woods.

For those not in the know, here’s a quick recap: During a golf tourney a few weeks back, Tilghman and linksman Nick Faldo were discussing Woods’ domination of the game and what young golfers would have to do to end his dominance. Faldo was sensible, suggesting that young swingers “gang up” on Woods. Tilghman in turn responded that players should take Woods and “lynch him in a back alley.” Jumpin’ Jena Six on a pogo stick, that’s bad.

Since then, Tilghman, a friend of Woods, has apologized to Tiger and to the public at large. Meanwhile the Golf Channel suspended the sportscaster for two weeks. But the Rev. Al Sharpton has also weighed in on the matter, calling for Tilghman’s firing.

What to do? What to do? After all, both Rush Limbaugh and Don Imus were fired for similar racially tinged comments. But then again, it appears that in the case of Tilghman this was a one-time affair; she’s not a person who tosses out disparaging remarks about every minority group and calls it comedy gold like some folks. As far as we know, she doesn’t have the same history of denigration and name-calling that Imus and Limbaugh have.

That said, Tilghman should have been smart enough to know not to make the comment; it was simply too racially charged and barely worthy of a slip-of-the-tongue defense, unlike previous Tar Baby comments made by Sen. John McCain and Gov. Mitt Romney — not to mention Wood’s himself who came under fire for using the term “spaz.”

But once she made the comment, Tilghman should have realized the implications of what she said and immediately apologized. There was no need to wait. Instead, she chose to cross her fingers and hope that no one would notice.

And that ain’t gonna happen, at least not in the YouTube era. Thanks to the internet, comments like these don’t go away. They simply pass from blog to blog like a cold sore until a proper news organization locks lips with the off-color gaffe and suddenly Brian Williams is sporting a whopper of a fever blister on the nightly news.

Tilghman’s most grievous error was in ignoring the power of the internet, and for that she should face a far worse punishment than a two-week suspension: She should get back in the kitchen and bake some cookies.

Crap. Can I take that back?