I thought you might have some thoughts on Alex Rodriguez's handwritten apology, released today. I'm trying to write a piece dissecting the letter. Do you have any thoughts on the unusual decision to release a handwritten copy? Do you have any thoughts on the language itself?
It’s an apology with no explanation. At this point, I’m not sure how effective it’ll be, since most of us formed our opinions of A-Rod a long time ago. The delay is a big red flag: why say sorry now? Why the sudden and complete change of heart?
The good: He “takes full responsibility,” says “sorry,” and expresses remorse. The language is straightforward and the sentences are simple. He writes with nouns without relying on adjectives to drive home his points. He acknowledges his lack of credibility, and, in a nice touch, declares that he doesn’t want to further tarnish the pinstripes by apologizing on the field.
The bad: It’s not credible; there’s no emotion, no depth. What’s more, he spends 20% of his letter being defensive (the third graf), noting the length of his suspension and the “let’s-move-on” sentiments from others. Caveats are the mark of a bad apology; a good apology is unconditional.
To cut through the overwhelming noise that constitutes much of today’s media landscape, one must be creative. This is not only smart; it’s also necessary. With his handwritten letter, Alex Rodriguez is following the path of other superstars like Michael Phelps, who tweeted an apology for his recent DUI.
Addendum (2/19/2015): Success!