(Image: Morry Gash/AP)
On Friday, JSOnline’s Bob Wolfley posted a handy round up of press reaction to Ryan Braun’s recent statement apologizing for using PEDs in 2011. The admonishments were mostly predictable, but there are few things as irritating as a herd of sportswriters rushing to their keyboards to let us know an athlete’s apology is inadequate. Is it now considered a sign of canny professionalism/good breeding to tell the world you don’t easily accept apologies from ballplayers? Is that something we’re supposed to be proud of now, when we aren’t ready to forgive someone who…did something improper but didn’t harm us in any way? Some excerpts from Wolfley’s post:
ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian: “It just leaves you wanting quite a bit more…If you are going to come out and make an apology, I think it's got to be more than this."
MLB.com’s Mike Bauman: “[Braun’s statement] was apparently intended as an apology and a confession. It comes up short in both areas.”
ESPN’s Buster Olney: “He did not step in front of cameras, as he did in his verbal victory lap after winning his appeal in February 2012. He did not answer questions Thursday evening, either in person or in writing. He isn’t going to make it right by issuing a couple of statements and going back to the batting cage.”
To be sure, no one has to accept Braun’s apology. They also don’t have to make a big display about not accepting it and/or wanting more, as if their high standards are an example to us all.
Olney’s comment includes a popular line of criticism about Braun’s statement, implying he should have called a press conference instead. Beloved former Brewers broadcaster Trenni Kusnierek also went that route, tweeting, “Ryan Braun had no problem getting in front of cameras to insist his innocence & should have done the same in admission of guilt.”
Imagine that Braun had called a press conference to make his initial apology last week. After it happened, I have feeling the same people saying Braun should have gone on camera would be criticizing him for being an attention seeker.
One gets the impression there are plenty of folks who say Braun needs to do more, but wouldn’t be satisfied with any act of contrition on his part. It’s one thing to express hope that Braun does whatever it takes earn back the goodwill of his teammates, peers, and fans. It’s completely unserious to make absurd demands of Braun – for instance, that he hold a press conference or give interviews when the season isn’t even over – and then say he hasn’t done enough.
Not all apologies need to be accepted. But when they are smugly not accepted – with a healthy dose of finger-wagging and rubbing someone’s failures in their face – it’s nothing anyone should be patting themselves on the back about. Braun may not deserve forgiveness, but no one deserves applause for posturing when they reject an apology.