No question of resigning for resilient Blatter
Sepp Blatter has survived countless crises during his 13 years as Fifa president.
Financial meltdown, court battles with major sponsors, the collapse of marketing partners ISL, World Cup vote controversies and now the corruption scandal involving members of his executive committee.
Throughout them all he has, somehow, managed to hold on and perhaps emerged even stronger inside world football.
Even at the height of the cash for votes affair involving his rival for the Fifa presidency Mohamed Bin Hammam, he never lost his swagger.
Maybe it is the cumulative effect of all this but none of the issues touched on above have - quite rightly - had quite the same impact on the public as his claims that racist incidents on the field of play could be settled with a handshake.
What made it worse was that his attempted clarifications - first on Twitter and then in a written statement and subsequent television interview - only seemed to reinforce that he genuinely believed what he had originally said.
So, with no sign of the storm blowing itself out, Blatter really had no choice but to apologise when I interviewed him at Fifa House this morning.
Contrite and seemingly shocked at the offence his comments had caused, Blatter said sorry three times - once in a prepared statement and then twice more later on when I questioned him on the subject.
Leaving no room for any doubt, he made it clear this time that if one player racially abused another during a match there should be zero tolerance.
But why did Blatter take so long to realise his comments had caused offence and why did he say them in the first place?
He told me he hadn't been sufficiently clear with his choice of words and that it hadn't dawned on him for some time that his remarks had been interpreted in such a negative way.
Surely it would have been evident pretty quickly once his interviews on Wednesday with CNN and Al Jazeera had been broadcast? Are we really to believe that the president of Fifa is so out of touch that it takes two days for news to reach his office in Zurich?
Or did he think he could ride this storm out like all the others he has had to face. Keep your head down for a day, it's mainly the English media again. It will all go quiet soon and everything will go back to normal.
And what of his original claims? Can they simply be airbrushed from the record? Blatter is a very intelligent man. True, English is not his first language and he is more confident in Spanish and French when not speaking his German mother tongue, but he seemed so clear, so insistent that racism on the pitch was the same as foul language.
Does this mean a man with outmoded, racist views lurks beneath the public persona of a campaigner for footballing equality? A man who did put his presidency and reputation on the line to take the World Cup to South Africa and who was so emphatically defended today by Tokyo Sexwale, a South African politician who spent 13 years in jail on Robben Island.
Probably not. But I remain uncomfortable about the whole thing.
For, make no mistake, my interview - although organised some weeks ago - was part of a co-ordinated fightback.
I have already mentioned the Sexwale press conference, which was well timed, to say the least.
But interestingly, shortly after I arrived at Fifa House this morning, Blatter walked out of the main reception with a member of the ethics committee from Senegal. The pair walked past me and my team and the gentleman got into his car before Blatter walked back in and greeted us, making sure we knew exactly who he had just shown out.
Was this coincidence? Who knows? Perhaps it is a consequence of the collapse in trust in the Fifa president that I am left contemplating a darker motive in an innocent act of courtesy.
Then it must always be remembered that Blatter is a master politician who rarely does anything without considering its effect.
So is his apology today sufficient to douse the flames? Probably. But was he genuinely contrite?
Again he is a good actor and he knows how to put on a good show but I have rarely seen him like this. At times he seemed to be genuinely shaken by the whole thing.
Tellingly, at the end of the interview, he looked across to his PR advisers. There was relief in his eyes but the look also begged a question: "How did I do?"
The reality is that, sorry or not, Blatter would never have even considered resigning over this. And who was going to push him? His answer to me on that score, was a return to the old, strutting Blatter.
"I cannot," was his reply. For him the Fifa presidency is a mission, not a job.
As far as he is concerned he has been given a huge mandate by the Fifa congress to carry on and now clean up the organisation.
Politically, only when a large number of the 208 national associations which make up Fifa start lighting up the Zurich switchboard with outrage will he even consider shuffling off into retirement.
Away from the headlines on racism there were some other important comments from Blatter today.
He said he would not "put his hands into the fire" to prove his executive committee was clean. Only when a new fit and proper person test was in place could he be sure.
He revealed his plans to release the documents relating to the ISL case were currently being opposed by "other parties" who may hinder that publication. Despite that he insisted he was still determined to publish these documents next month.
And he acknowledged that, as president, he did have a responsibility for the image crisis Fifa is suffering, although he then went on to suggest the crisis was all down to the decision to decide two World Cup hosts at the same time.
He managed to evade questions about his salary, the way Fifa is run and why, after 13 years in charge, he should be trusted when he says he is now the great reformer.
When the racism storm does die down, these are the matters and questions that Blatter will have to return to.
And, while his comments on racism give more ammunition to his critics who say he is out of touch, they will ultimately determine his legacy.
Saying sorry was the easy part. His biggest problems still lie ahead.