Are apologies good enough?

February 10, 2009 | Keith Melchior

When we were kids and did something wrong, we were told to apologize or say “I’m sorry” and afterward, were usually punished for what we did. I’m sure most of us have been “grounded for life” on more than one occasion. As our parents tried to do with us, we, in turn, try to teach our kids how to play nice, share their toys, respect other people’s things, and not to do anything to hurt anyone. When they don’t, we tell them to say they are sorry. Are they doing it just because we tell them to? Yes. Do they really mean it? Depending on their age, they probably don’t even realize what they did was wrong or hurtful.

Today’s celebrities get off easily with the apologies. Miley Cyrus apologized for making her eyes slant in a picture. Michael Phelps apologized for smoking a bong. Jason Giambi apologized a few years ago, but he never came out and said exactly what he was apologizing for. So what? I’m sorry, I apologize. Well, I’m not buying into it.

Alex Rodriguez really duped the baseball public into thinking he was Mr Clean. He was a young, powerful slugger who followed in Cal Ripken’s footsteps to change the way the traditional shortstop position was viewed. No longer are shortstops small, skinny, wirey looking guys like Mark Belanger, Eddie Brinkman, or Alan Trammel. Shortstops are now legitimate high average hitters who drive in runs, not the weak .200 hitter who bats 8th or 9th.

And now, TWO HUNDRED and FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS later and we find out A-Rod is as dirty as any other player who got caught using a performance enhancing drug. He claims he was young and stupid and was under pressure to perform after he got that big contract. He apologized.  So what?

  If, for no reason at all, someone punched you in the face then later decided to apologize, would you accept it? If a member of your family was shot in a robbery attempt, then later if that person was arrested and apologized for his/her actions, would you accept the apology? If Osama Bin Laden apologized to the people of the US for his part in the bombing of the USS Cole and also the attacks from 9/11, would you think that apology was realistic enough to accept? Do apologies make things all better in the world?  Do we believe a person when he or she apologizes, or do we think the apology only followed  because they got caught?

Celebrity apologies mean absolutely nothing to me. A-Rod’s apology is totally worthless unless he gives back a big part of that 250 million to a worthy charity and, frankly, I still wouldn’t care what happens to him.  These people need to be held accountable for their actions once they step into the public eye and take lots of money for what they do. Major League baseball needs to step up and suspend A-Rod without pay for at least 1/2 of the season. They need to make a point and an example out of their best player. Will the MLBPA allow this to happen? No. They are the most powerful union on Earth.

Until the fans start staying away from the stadiums en mass, stop buying tickets and the gear of these players, and let their feeling be known, nothing will change. Apologies come in all forms and just because someone says, “I apologize” doesn’t really mean much unless they are grounded for life.