Monday, January 18, 2010

Apology 3 (Steroids & Stuff)

I'm going to analyze 2 apologies today. Both are athletes apologizing for using performance enhancing drugs.

Alex Rodriquez (baseball star)
"When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day. And I did take a banned substance and, you know, for that I'm very sorry and deeply regretful. And although it was the culture back then and Major League Baseball overall was very - I just feel that - you know, I'm just sorry. I'm sorry for that time. I'm sorry to fans. I'm sorry for my fans in Texas. It wasn't until then that I ever thought about substance of any kind, and since then I've proved to myself and to everyone that I don't need any of that."

- Admits he took a banned substance
- Short and to the point

- Partially blames peer pressure
- Compares his sin with others (everyone did it)
- Seems interested in protecting his statistical legacy

This is a pretty typical apology. He admits his wrong-doing, but focuses on the circumstances that led him to do it rather than the wrong choice. Like the next apology, he seems very concerned to protect his legacy. Grade: C

Mark McGwire (baseball star)
* This 'apology' was given recently in an interview format. McGwire tried to make the case that his use of performance enhancing drugs didn't enhance his performance (he would have hit all those Homeruns without them). Here are some of the key statements:

"It's the most regrettable thing I've ever done in my life... It was the era that we played in. I wish I never played in that era. I wish we had drug testing. If we had testing when I was playing, you and I wouldn't be having this conversation today. I guarantee you that... the pressures that I had to perform and what I had to go through to get through all these injuries is a very very regrettable thing. I wish it never came into my life. But we're sitting here talking about it. I wish I didn't have to. I apologize to everybody in major-league baseball, my family, the Marrises, Bud Selig. Today was the hardest day of my life... All I wanted to do was come clean. I wanted to come clean since 2005. I didn't know where when or how. I've just been holding this in... I want to add one more thing: I was not going to lie. I was not going to lie. I wanted to tell the truth. But because of the position I was in, and to protect my family and to protect me, I decided I would take the hits. I think anybody's going to take the hits. I've been taking hits for five years. It doesn't feel very good."

- He specifically names some of those he hurt

- Blames the era rather than himself*
- Blames peer pressure
- Personifies steroids as if they came to him
- Blames lateness of apology on lack of venue
- Claims pure motives for not confessing

- Unclear whether he regrets action or having to confess

Throughout the interview, McGwire was unwilling to admit that his home run totals were influenced by the drugs he was taking. Because of this, I think most will find it hard to view this as a full apology. Overall, his apology is even worse than that of Rodriquez. Grade: D


Jecca said...

hm, i hadn't heard mark's complete apology until just now and had some compassion for him. but that just sucked it all away. a D might be generous.

Elizabeth said...

I think I am more generous with Rodriquez's apology, maybe B-. The line that he starts to culture "although it was the culture back then and Major League Baseball overall was very - I just feel that - you know, I'm just sorry." Without hearing the tone he used to me it sounds like it is also apologizing for being a part of the culture or trying to say it was wrong. In reading it I get more of a sense that he is sorry/repentant.

matthew said...

interesting take Liz

You're right to point out that tone is also important. In fact, there's a number of factors that are key in determining genuineness that I'm not dealing with here (tone, circumstances of confession, behavior after confession, etc)

matthew said...

And jess... if you want to read the whole interview you can google 'mcgwire costas interview transcript'

I tried to just give the highlights/apology sections