As I said the other day, I feel like Ryan Braun is in a situation where no matter what he does and no matter what he says he will still be a pariah. Mark McGwire showed us that, as has every other publicly disgraced person who gets in front of a camera in an effort to come clean.
Sometimes they are less than forthcoming, true, but sometimes they say absolutely everything that can conceivably be said about the matter and they’re still slammed for evading or not being remorseful or whatever. The secret here is that most people really don’t want answers or explanations from these people. They’ve made up their minds and won’t listen. They just want the thrill of seeing someone squirm and the satisfaction of saying, after the fact, that the person is still a piece of garbage. I feel like Braun will get this treatment in spades.
But others aren’t as cynical as me. Bob Wolfley of the Journal-Sentinel spoke with some experts and P.R. professionals about what Braun could say or do to actually get on the road to redemption. It’s a fascinating and, actually, quite excellent article that covers just about every angle of the matter.
This from former commissioner Fay Vincent was the first insight:
One is, he should see that the problem is a very serious problem for baseball, not think that the Ryan Braun case is about Ryan Braun … secondly he should, in my view, go to somebody like the commissioner and say what can I do to go around and make it clear to fans and to people in baseball that we’ve got to do something to keep these drugs from infecting the rest of the game?”
Nice, but if you don’t think the response to that would be (1) “Braun is not taking personal responsibility, he’s blaming ‘the game'”; and (2) yeah, sure, look at his cynical P.R. efforts, just like A-Rod working for the Hooton Foundation!” you’re crazy, Fay.
The stuff from a P.R. expert is way better: a full confession and apology with no “buts” in the comments, anonymous charity work and an eschewing of the limelight. I feel, however, that a lot of that would be construed as “Braun has gone away to hide.” Other P.R. people in the column talk about how it’s too late and how Braun can never redeem his reputation. I suspect they may be right. Former Mets pitcher Ron Darling is not so pessimistic and believes that there is a chance for Braun.
I know that Braun’s reputation is not the concern of people outside of Braun himself, but I find it a fascinating sidelight to this grand opera.