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And Another Thing

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Letters from Sorrytown

i guess this is how we do contrition these days, on a sheet of paper, in cold lawsuit-proof type. Here's my apology, world, and never mind how many times my hired suits parsed it to make sure it wouldn't cost me large coin down the road. It's sincere. Really. Every lawyer-vetted word of it.

Thus did Ryan Braun, comically late, apologize yesterday, via press release. With a convenient timeline for his PED use (only once, rehabbing an injury, you know), and with no chance for the world to look him in the eyes and judge whether or not this was just a ploy to put this behind him and move on.

Well. Good luck with that.

Because whoever advised him on this is a damn fool, and if he's on Braun's payroll he should no longer be. I'm sure the lawyerly thinking was to carefully craft a statement to prevent his contract from being voided, and perhaps to head off a lawsuit from the sample collector.

Congratulations, Perry Mason. Epic fail there.

Because, listen, a printed statement isn't going to make this go away; sooner or later Braun is still going to have to face hard questions about all this, because the statement opened him up to those questions. If he simply mans up and goes in front of the media, now, however -- and unscripted, because a scripted apology is no apology at all -- everyone gets to look in his eyes and gauge the timbre of his voice, and likely they're a lot more accepting of what he has to say.

And then this really does go away.

But a printed statement can convey neither sincerity nor insincerity, except to make the former suspect. And if the goal was to head off a lawsuit or two ... well, the lawsuits are likely to happen no matter how carefully worded Braun's statement was. So why not just throw away the script and speak from the heart?

I'm not Ryan Braun, but if I were, this is how I handle it: I don't tell my advisers what I'm going to do (and since I'm paying them, not the other way around, I'm free to do this), I just do it. And while I'm at it, I publicly renounce my tainted MVP award and announce that I'll be making some restitution for costing the man who handled my sample his job.

It might not have been enough. But at least it would have been more than we got yesterday.

Ben Smith's blog.

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