Baseball Player Apology

A major league baseball player issued an apology this week. Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, the steroid Nandrolone. Here’s his statement:

“In this very difficult moment I apologize to my family, the Pittsburgh Pirates, my teammates, my fans, and baseball in general. Neglect and lack of knowledge have led me to this mistake with the high price to pay of being away from the field that I enjoy and love so much.

“With much embarrassment and helplessness, I ask for forgiveness for unintentionally disrespecting so many people who have trusted in my work and have supported me so much. I promise to learn the lesson that this ordeal has left me.”

What’s good about this apology:

  • He addresses everyone involved, recognizing that this affects not only his family and fans, but the public perception of baseball.
  • He asks for forgiveness.
  • He acknowledges that his act conveys a sense of disrespect to people who trusted him.
  • He admits feeling “embarrassed.”
  • At least he issued a statement of regret.

What’s wrong with this apology:

  • For what is he apologizing? He never explains what “this mistake” was.
  • He’s not taking responsibility. He attributes his mistake to “neglect and lack of knowledge” rather than to anything he actually did. No one takes a steroid by neglect.
  • He almost sounds like he’s sorry that he got caught, rather than for taking a banned drug. Words like “neglect,” “lack of knowledge,” “unintentional” and “helpless” are words from a victim, not from an offender taking responsibility for his actions. One gets the impression that he either did not know he was taking a steroid, or did not know that it was a banned drug, but if he’s truly sorry, he would admit that he should have known.
  • A good apology includes a willingness to accept the consequences. Being suspended from playing baseball is a logical consequence of breaking its rules, but he calls it a “high price to pay.” What does he think would’ve been a reasonable price?
  • He would sound more sincere if he had already learned the lesson, instead of promising that he will learn it.
  • He wants us to forgive him for “unintentionally disrespecting” us. Even if we can forgive him for that, can we forgive him for this weak apology?



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