) -- Right now, Ryan Braun is being called a lot of bad things, including "liar" and "cheater" and "cravenly selfish" and "cockroach," and it is safe to say that he deserves every one of those labels.
But Braun is very fortunate, and not just because of his good looks, superior athletic ability and $150 million contract. He is fortunate because he lives in a forgiving country. We forgive nearly everyone.
We forgave the British after the Revolutionary War. After the Civil War, the North forgave the South and the soldiers from the two sides embraced. After World War II, we forgave Germany and Japan.
We forgave Bobby Bragan and Dixie Walker for initially opposing Jackie Robinson's entry into baseball. We forgave football player Michael Vick and actor Charlie Sheen. We forgave and re-elected South Carolina Congressman Mark Sanford. We are in the process of forgiving George W. Bush.
It looked like we might forgive former congressman Anthony Weiner, who was doing well in polls as he ran for mayor of New York. But then Weiner admitted on Tuesday that he sent explicit photos to a woman after being forced to resign from Congress for sending explicit photos to women.
So some people are hopeless. Braun doesn't need to be in that group. But he does need to offer more than the ineffective apology he provided on Monday, after agreeing to a 65-game suspension for steroid use, and he needs to do it soon.
Bruce Hicks, CEO of The Alliant Group/Houston, is a veteran of 45 years in public relations and crisis management, as well as a baseball fan and a 19-year volunteer umpire for the Little League in Sugar Land, Texas. He has worked in various industries including airlines, providing crisis management following crashes at
(DAL - Get Report)
, Continental and
. Another longtime client is
Starwood Hotels and Resorts
(HOT - Get Report)
Hicks said fans will forgive Braun if Braun can "learn from those who came before and come clean and fess up." Braun needs to explain the details of his steroid use, which he has not done, and not just say he made mistakes. And he needs to act quickly. "I don't think he can wait" until he returns to baseball next season, Hicks said. Also, Braun should apologize to Dino Laurenzi, the urine sample collector falsely accused of mishandling Braun's October 2011 drug test.
Telling the whole truth is paramount. "The fans will forgive Braun if he comes clean," Hicks said. "Look at the difference between (Yankee pitcher) Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds," he said. Pettitte admitted to steroid use and is beloved. Bonds and Clemens went to court to argue that they did not use. They won there, but they lost in the court of public opinion.