It’s easy to criticize when someone does something wrong.
It’s even practically effortless when there’s only the appearance of erroneous behavior — or assume complicity toward anyone associated with a wrongdoer, as a teammate, family member, or colleague.
As I’ve frequently pointed out many times when a professional or organization has made a mistake, I think it’s incumbent to make mention when someone tries to “make it right” after they don’t “get it right.” Such is the case with major league baseball player, Ryan Braun.
Frankly, Braun has been making me highly irritated. He threw a regular guy who worked for a lab under the bus, just to solve Braun’s problem of taking banned substances in his sport. He swore that he was innocent — even invoking his family’s name and reputation.
Then, he was later proven guilty — and accepted suspension for sixty-five games. He was caught in a despicable lie.
There’s no doubt his behavior was reprehensible. Now, however, it appears that Braun is trying to make amends.
- According to several reports, Braun contacted his team’s front office for the names and numbers of Milwaukee Brewers’ season ticket holders. He’s making, reportedly on his own initiative, phone calls to the fans to apologize for the wrong he did.
A Milwaukee native, the highly successful financial service leader Steven Lewandowski was kind enough to alert me to the story: sports bar owner Pat Guenther told the media that he was initially suspicious of the man on the phone claiming to be Braun. SportsIllustrated.com reported that Guenther told a Milwaukee television station:
“He picked up the phone thinking it’d be a joke.”Hey Pat this is Ryan Braun,” Guenther recalls. “Right then and there I knew it was his voice based on interviews I’ve seen on TV. I knew damn well it was his voice.”
So he did what anyone in the service industry would do.
“I said what can I do for you? He said, ‘I messed up, in a nutshell, I messed up. I just want to reach out and say I’m sorry.’
I cut him off right there. I said you know Ryan, I think you’re an amazing athlete and this speaks volumes to your character to reach out to a small business owner like myself and let us know that you are going to do better.”
“Who hasn’t made a mistake? People move forward. I think that’s what Ryan is trying to do. He’s moving forward. He has no other option. Be better, help his ballclub win games and win the hearts of Brewers fans like he has for many, many years.”
“He was very humble on the phone. He wanted to reach out and for him to do this is an act of kindness. He wants the people of Wisconsin to support the Brewers and him.”
Is this just a publicity stunt? Perhaps — only time will tell if he’s sincere. Will this absolve Ryan Braun? No. However, apologizing to the customers — the fans you have disappointed — is a start.
It’s the same in baseball as in your business or mine. When we make a mistake we have to be authentic and contritely apologize.
- However, the apology is just the beginning. We must return to consistently performing at the level we have encouraged our fans and customers to expect.
An apology has no traction unless it is backed up with action.