PR Memo to A-Rod: It’s Not Too Late

 PR Memo to A Rod: Its Not Too Late

THE PR VERDICT: “F” (Full Fiasco) to Major League Baseball player Alex Rodriguez.

To sports fans, a losing season is interminably long. Baseball fans must be feeling that way about the drama involving Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees and the question of whether he took performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). With each passing day, A-Rod digs himself deeper into a PR hole he has increasingly little chance of climbing out of.

The issue exploded last week after an arbitration panel agreed Rodriguez should serve the longest-ever suspension of a Major League Baseball player for his alleged infractions. On Sunday, a 60 Minutes interview featured purported dope dealer Anthony Bosch, who suggested that A-Rod’s inner circle tried to buy his silence and, when Bosch refused, threatened his life.

Some say it’s too late in the game for a mea culpa from Rodriguez. But the sad truth is that other sports figures, most notably Lance Armstrong, have more than cleared the brush on that path. So many others have come before him – including a dozen other players who admitted they bought drugs from Bosch – that Alex Rodriguez would be just another name on a depressingly expanding list.

THE PR VERDICT: “F” (Full Fiasco) to Alex Rodriguez. Admitting he used PEDs  won’t save his career or legacy, but it’s his only option to stop the onslaught of negative press and repair his image.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Know when to fold. With this scandal breaking in the twilight of his career, Alex Rodriguez’s dreams of holding homerun records and joining the Baseball Hall of Fame are dashed. An admission of guilt may give the public a figure they can eventually forgive. All that’s left of Rodriguez’s image is who he is as a person. Admitting he used and apologizing would at least give us someone who went out appearing accountable and contrite, rather than a deluded egomaniac who denied his complicity until the bitter, bitter end.



Braun “Apology” a Foul Ball

 Braun Apology a Foul Ball

THE PR VERDICT: “F” (Full Fiasco) for Milwaukee Brewers player Ryan Braun.

It’s no easy feat to outdo Lance Armstrong, but Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is giving it his best shot. After more than a year of denials, Braun acknowledged this week that he is indeed guilty of taking performance-enhancing drugs. His statement was issued by Major League Baseball, which said it would suspend him without pay for the rest of the 2013  season.

Even in this era of Armstrong-level deception, Braun’s turnabout was still a shock to the fans, players, and supporters. They could not have been mollified, either, by his narcissistic and insincere “apology”: “As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. […] Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed — all of the baseball fans, especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates.” Too much mea, too little culpa.

Braun neither apologized nor admitted wrongdoing of any kind, and the statement was rife with of language suggesting he still thinks this isn’t fair – he “may have made some mistakes,” though he’s “willing” to accept the consequences. Most strikingly, he reminds us again that he’s “not perfect,” just in case anyone still thought he was.

The media, who a la Lance also feel bamboozled, were unrestrained, calling Braun everything from a “liar nonpareil” to a snake and a cockroach. We’ll have to wait the cold Milwaukee winter to see if Brewers’ fans are the forgiving types.

THE PR VERDICT: “F” (Full Fiasco) for Ryan Braun, for issuing an apology as meaningless as his stats.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: When you say you’re sorry, say it. There will always be those who deride your words as hollow, but if you don’t actually apologize for your actions it’s likely that camp will grow. In the old days, it used to be game over for public figures who got caught with their literal or figurative pants down. Today’s fans and constituents are more forgiving, but there is still a limit to their compassion. Saying “I’m sorry” for mistakes made will always be the best course of action.

The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners and Losers

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) TO New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for pulling off another political pirouette. A week after rekindling his late summer hurricane “bromance” with President Obama, the Republican governor put the partisan gloves back on in the wake of Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s death. Christie appointed the state’s Republican Attorney General to caretake Lautenberg’s seat and called an early, off-cycle election to fill the seat permanently. No matter that the special election will cost taxpayers an extra $24 million; Christie successfully sold it as being in the state’s best interests. Of course, it nicely serves the GOP’s and his own interests as well by keeping a popular Democrat and his strong partisan support out of the November general election. A purely political calculation, but Christie made it look like he was just doing the right thing for his constituents.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) TO Major League Baseball’s latest steroid scandal. Twenty baseball heavyweights, including Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees (left), are under investigation for alleged involvement in a Florida “anti-aging clinic” whose elixir of youth was performance enhancing drugs. A-Rod previously admitted to taking PEDs from 2001-3, but has denied taking them since. If found to be lying, he could face a 100-game suspension. No word on the effect that will have on his 10-year, $275 million contract, especially after a bad season.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners and LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD to The Guardian, the British newspaper that breathlessly reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) issued a “top secret” order for the daily phone records of millions of Verizon customers. The order, the paper said, “shows the scale of surveillance under the Obama administration.” US lawmakers, who can usually find outrage in a cup of coffee, were unmoved. Senior Democrats and Republicans in Congress said they know about it and have no particular problem with it, especially in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. The White House simply said measures are in place to ensure that the program, which does not permit authorities to listen in on phone calls, complies with various laws. It also appears this clandestine order The Guardian stumbled upon may just be a reauthorization of a program that’s gone on for years. Phonegate it’s not. Ho-hum.