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How Can Ryan Braun Restore His Image?

As a Milwaukee Brewers fan, I will say the news about Ryan Braun being suspended for the season is very disappointing. Denial after denial, it appears he’s now admitting that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

For the many who admired Braun, there’s not only anger and disappointment but also the fact that he lied to the fans. Now as the new villain in baseball, the biggest question is can Braun’s reputation ever recover from this scandal? Can he ever restore his “brand” with the fans of the Brewers, baseball and public opinion?

There’s an immense amount of damage control that needs to be done by Braun. Here are some ways that Braun can take steps to restoring his reputation and image.

The Simple Steps to Ryan Braun Restoring His Image:

Admit Your Mistakes:

This is step one. If history tells us anything, speed to admit your mistakes will go a long way in restoring one’s reputation. If you look at players like Jason Giambi or Andy Pettitte, they have admitted mistakes in a timely manor and the public has appeared to forgive them.

Braun needs to do the same with an apology, a simple, straightforward answer that explains why he took PEDs.

Ryan BraunDo the Talking for Yourself:

Braun should not rely on the Milwaukee Brewers, the Players Union, or any other outside agency to be his messenger. He will need to face the tough questions, apologize and own up to the situation. Being transparent will help jump start the process towards restoring his name in the court of public opinion.

Make Amends:

Just because you’ve apologized doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. People will continue to have their opinion of Braun in the aftermath. He must take steps to show his remorse and change his mistakes of the past. Whether that’s through a series of public service announcements, making a public apology to Dino Laurenzi Jr., or donating a portion of his salary earned to a charity or program dedicated to keeping sports clean.

Whether Braun can overcome his reputation as a baseball “villain” depends on your point of view, the mounting evidence, and the steps he starts taking in repairing his reputation.

In a world of second chances, the biggest question is will Braun get his?

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6 Responses to How Can Ryan Braun Restore His Image?

  1. Gail Sideman July 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    Braun would be smart to admit LIES, not mistakes. Private and public reports from the locker room are those of disappointment and betrayal, which mirrors that of fans on the street. His window of initial forgiveness has long passed. The time to admit wrongdoing was in the spring of 2012 (I wrote as much here: http://www.publiside.com/2013/07/ryan-braun-will-always-have-a-pr-challenge). The Brewers could be masters of the healing process by now if he had. Instead, they spent months hanging on threads wondering what would happen with the newest accusations.

    Further, PSAs and donations are meaningless at this point. It’s best if Braun simply disappears from the public eye for several months now unless he first — and immediately — opts to come completely clean with a public confession that details how long he was using and maybe more importantly, why he lied (PR 101 — the coverup is always worse than the crime.) If a year from now he wants to speak to young athletes about the dangers of using PEDs, that may resonate, but it won’t sway long-time supporters who feel betrayed. Donations in their own right are meaningless unless it helps an entire city. Actions speak louder than words or money, especially when it comes to an athlete who was able to hire the best defense team to find a technicality to help him get out of his first PED accusation.

    By all means, Braun should do his own talking. The quote attributed to him in the MLB release Monday was embarrassing, and continues to be made a mockery by media and public alike. When that happens, the message is no more than words in a news release. They mean nothing.

  2. Mike Wisniewski July 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    Gail, thanks for your comments. It’s a bad situation from every angle. The recommendations that I suggested like PSA or donations are more long term. You’re correct in saying they are meaningless right now and would appear to be spin control. However, time and action can go a long way in the healing process. Remember, Michael Vick was about to do a PSA for PETA.

    I’m curious to see how this all plays out. It’s interesting that MLB was willing to offer him a plee bargain. It could mean an opportunity for MLB and players that got caught to be part of a public outreach or a scared straight type program to educate players at all levels.

  3. Paul M Fruitman July 25, 2013 at 7:38 am #

    I’m not sure if he can recover.
    I agree with Gails point, he should have admitted the lies. But even then after everything that has happened with Lance Armstrong although sports fans tend to be forgiving I think they have hardened their hearts to people who bend the truth for their own benefit.
    This really is less about him using the PED and more about him hiding it and being untruthful. Its an odd scenario where we will forgive cheaters but not liars. But the reality is its not the trust in his game and abilities he has lost its the trust in him as a person and his character that has more than likely permanently damaged his rep.
    Now I wont say never, he is a great ballplayer and even Michael Vick was able to return to his sport so its possible. But baseball is different, fans are purists of the sport, this has tainted the game at a time when it didn’t need it and he may very well turn out to be the whipping boy.
    Just as Sammy Sosa never recovered from the corked bat scenario this could be quite parallel

  4. mike wisniewski July 25, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    Paul, your points are all valid. Baseball and its fans are different than most sports. Only time will tell if Braun will ever have his name and status restored. We live in a society that gives people second chances, and stranger things have happened. It has to start with Braun, and he needs to come clean.

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