How To Apologize

Lots of Athletes and Celebrities get themselves into jams where it seems the public wants them to apologize. And invariably when the offenders try, they muck the whole apology up.

I’m here to help. Although I may not be able to give the greatest advice on how to do the right thing all the time, I am pretty accomplished at apologizing. Just ask my wife. Over our thirteen years of marriage, I’ve become an expert on apologizing.

I’m going to use the Ryan Braun performance enhancing drug scandal as a case study on how to apologize. Honestly, Braun didn’t do too bad this last time around. Braun’s Apology. But I still think his case is instructive. For those who don’t know, Braun originally tested positive, fought against the results, got them and his suspension over ruled because of a technicality and lashed out at those who were trying to bring down an innocent guy. This time around, Major League Baseball apparently had him dead to rights, he sucked it up, took his suspension and then issued an apology.

Those fans and media who have gone after Braun can certainly do so, but I think they are missing what a wonderfully human example he’s giving us that applies to all of us.  So here goes, this is how I would have apologized this time around if I were Ryan Braun.

“Hi there, I would like to say that I took performance enhancing drugs in order to gain an advantage over other people. I cheated. I knowingly cheated.  The last time I got caught, I said I was innocent and I was able to smear the name of the person who screwed up my test sample. At that time, I was lying to all of you.

I lied to all of you because of course, I didn’t want to stop cheating and I didn’t want to admit to all of you that I was cheating.

So what has changed this time? Have I grown a conscience?


This time I got caught and couldn’t figure a way out of it. And so I figured the best thing for my public image was to admit I was cheating and to apologize.

But let’s be clear, I’m not sorry for what I did. At this stage, I am sorry I got caught. And since I’ve been dishonest through this whole process, I thought I’d at least be honest about that.

If I hadn’t of gotten really caught this time, I wouldn’t be apologizing to you now.

Here’s the thing, since so many people think what I have done is wrong, it helps me to know on an intellectual level that what I did was wrong. I also know that I should feel sorry. But the truth is at this point, I don’t feel sorry for cheating.

I only feel sorry that I got caught. Yes, something is wrong with me. I know in my mind that I should feel sorry for actually doing the wrong thing. But I don’t.  Not yet.  And the best I can tell you today is this. I want to someday feel sorry in my heart for the times I did the wrong thing. I really do.

If I had to do it all over again, I would do it in a second. Trust me, a fifty game suspension just isn’t much of a deterrent when you think of the tens of millions of dollars I’ve made.”

Like I said, Braun did okay, much better than some other athletes and celebrities, in his most recent apology. But I would love to see famous people just lay it on the table like I’ve done so above.

But lets be clear, I’m not really talking to Ryan Braun or famous people right now. I’m talking to myself. I’ve never done PEDs or made millions of dollars or been famous. But I’ve done the wrong thing. And sometimes only start to feel sorry about it the moment I get caught.

Trust me, from experience, its a lot better to start feeling sorry the moment before you make the wrong decision.

Update: In the next few days, I’ll do a follow up post on some of the reaction I’m seeing on the web to Braun’s apology (an apology I thought was relatively pretty good but didn’t go quite far enough).