Jennifer Thomas is a bestselling author, psychologist, speaker, consultant & apology critic

Suspended Brewers Baseball Player Braun Phones in Apologies to Fans

Photo of Brewers Player Ryan Braun by

images222After 18 months of denials, Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. Braun received a lengthy suspension and is using his free time to personally call fans and offer his apologies, the team said Friday.

“It was his idea,” said Rick Schlesinger, the Brewers’ chief operating officer. “He came to us and said he wanted to call fans,” including season-ticket holders, partial season-ticket holders and individual buyers.

The Brewers turned over a list of several dozen random names, Schlesinger said.  “He said he wanted to call everybody on the list,” Schlesinger said.

According to ESPN, Wes Aldridge was among the fans who got a call, but at first he was skeptical it was actually Braun. Aldridge said he didn’t waste any time getting to the question on the mind of many Brewers fans. “I asked him point blank, I said, ‘Why a guy like you, that has all the talent in the world, why would you do something like this?'” Aldridge said. “And he said it was a mistake a friend of his had talked him into and that he was really sorry for his actions.”

My Thoughts as an Apology Critic:

Whether you are Ryan Braun or an everyday Joe who is in the dog house, there are some simple apology No No’s. You should avoid these 3 common errors:

  • Blaming others for your mistakes.
  • Trying to excuse your actions.
  • Denying the seriousness of what you have done.

The quote saying that Braun blamed his friend for talking him into his poor choices is based on second-hand information. Assuming that the quote it true, however, it represents a huge mistake by Braun. He needs to own up to the error in his ways. Any attempts to explain the pressures he felt to use drugs will backfire on him. Why? Because everyone knows that you are responsible for your own choices. If Braun’s friend had asked him to jump off of a bridge, would he have done that too?

My advice to Braun and to anyone else offering apologies is simple:

What to Say:WhenSorryIsntEnough_1281

  • Say what you did wrong in detail.
  • Speak all five of our languages of apology.
  • Stop talking before you negate your words by saying “But…”.

What Not to Say:

  1. Haven’t you gotten over that yet?
  2. It’s a free country. I can do what I want to do.
  3. Why are you so upset? That’s just silly.
  4. That’s life.
  5. The devil made me do it.
  6. What’s the big deal?
  7. Give me a break.
  8. You just need to get over it.
  9. There is nothing I can do about that now. I can’t take away the past.
  10. Why can’t you let bygones be bygones?


Braun has surprised many people, myself included, by making personal calls to apologize. I give him a lot of credit for not just releasing a statement, reading a polished letter, or tweeting his apology in 140 characters or fewer. In our book, When Sorry Isn’t Enough, Gary Chapman and I talk about the value of making amends for wrongdoing. Making things right with others can involve time, money, or some other way of using your efforts to show your sincerity. While many people will continue to be disappointed by Braun’s past actions, some people will give greater credence to his apologies because he is now going above and beyond the call of duty.

Share Your Thoughts:

Are apology phone calls a good idea?

What should people say or not say when apologizing?

New! Leave a comment here or under any of my posts this month and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon gift card from me.


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