The 2016-17 season has been Sunderland's annus horribilis.
The club has lurched from one crisis to the next, some of their own making and others out of their control but nonetheless this season has been a miserable one - and there is no sign of it getting better anytime soon.
David Moyes' misguided comments to BBC reporter Vicki Sparks in the aftermath of the goalless draw with Burnley, the latest in a long line of events that have dogged the club.
Sam Allardyce's departure. Poor recruitment. Record-breaking 10-game winless run to kick off the season. Financial woe. Redundancies announced around the same time as the New York trip.
This season has had it all, with relegation to the Championship very much on the cards. The last thing the club - and Moyes - needed was to invite further pressure.
A contrite Moyes said he "profoundly regrets" his slap comments after he took offence at the perfectly reasonable line of questioning. He said it was not in his nature and he deeply regretted it.
Regardless of whether Moyes' comments were made in jest, he was wrong to say it.
Journalists have a thick skin. It comes with the territory. Manager's have to have one too.
But most would agree there is never a situation where it is appropriate to be spoken to in that manner when someone - man or woman - is just trying to do their job.
It can be easy to jump aboard your high horse at moments like this and take the moral high ground.
Clearly, though, on this occasion he is in the wrong.
Speak as you find and I have always found Moyes to be respectful, decent, polite and good company with a genuine desire to do well at Sunderland. This episode will hurt him.
It could certainly hurt him in the pocket now the Football Association are involved, with FA chiefs seeking observations from the club about the incident.
Some have called for Moyes to be sacked, others believe he has been treated harshly or stitched up.
It is important to note Moyes moved quickly to apologise - before it became public - and the BBC confirmed that Moyes and Sparks had spoken since and that the apology was accepted and the matter was resolved.
There are a lot of wide-ranging opinions as to what should happen next but ultimately if Vicki Sparks has accepted the apology then a line should be drawn under the episode.
Moyes' comments were misguided and his actions in front of the cameras naive and he has been managing in the top flight long enough to know of the potential repercussions.
Inevitably there has been widespread condemnation. The club has moved to draw a line under the episode but it shows no sign of going away anytime soon.
If the FA decide to pursue it further, Moyes could face a heavy fine or a ban. Another chapter in a dismal campaign.