In his media training on crisis management for corporations, which he has offered to thousands of executives around the world, Hicks shows a tape of Connie Chung's 2001 interview of former California Congressman Gary Condit, suspected at the time of of murdering his intern, Chandra Levy. Condit was later exonerated.

As Braun did on Monday, Condit said he was not perfect. But that is not enough. "Condit said seven times, 'I'm not a perfect man,'" Hicks said. "But it sounded so trite. He wouldn't answer questions about whether he had an affair -- instead he said, 'I've made mistakes' and 'I'm not perfect.' He should have said 'yes, I did have an affair.'"

Former baseball star Pete Rose is another example of someone whose apology -- for betting on baseball -- failed, in his case because it came too late. "Pete Rose is one of the saddest cases in baseball," Hicks said. "He waited too long."

Another failed apology was offered by Lance Armstrong, who appeared on Oprah Winfrey's TV show in January and admitted to using steroids. Afterward, some investigators said he did not tell the complete truth. "Armstrong was not forgiven," Hicks said. "It might have worked earlier, but he waited way too long and he didn't come clean."

Hicks said Braun should carefully select the media forum for his apology. "He doesn't want to be open to criticism for being too selective," Hicks said. "He has to do it with someone who has a strong audience and who will do a fair interview, not someone who caters to him.

"I wouldn't go outside the industry," he said. "He should stick with baseball, that's his audience. But he needs to have somebody who will call him on it if he starts to waffle."

In advising airlines on how to handle crashes, Hicks said, "I advise them to be very candid, to have as transparent a process as possible, and to first and foremost take care of the victims and the victims' families, which the law requires. They generally do a good job of that.

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