Skip to content

If you’re busted for steroids it’s better to clam up than to come clean

Jan 23, 2013, 9:36 AM EST

Lance Armstrong

You hear it every time an athlete is busted for PEDs: “He/she needs to come clean and explain what he/she did. Only then can he/she begin to repair the damage to his/her reputation and legacy he/she has done.”

Bollocks:

MM Haigh found that baseball players who apologized to their fans were no more likely to receive positive news coverage than those who did not. Jessica Korn studied polling data (pdf) and discovered that admission and apology actually resulted in decreased favorability, while denial was a more successful PR strategy.

This comes in a piece at The Guardian by Harry Enten about how Lance Armstrong’s confession to Oprah was actually way more damaging to his favorability ratings than merely staying silent would have done.

If you’re 2002 Ken Caminiti and you’re just looking for a way to clear your conscience, cool, go public. But if you’re actually interested in protecting or preserving your popularity or legacy or reputation or whatever, going public about your PED use is counterproductive. Which shouldn’t be surprising given how every single public confession of PED use is followed up with sports writers penning columns about how the apology or confession was insincere, too late or otherwise inadequate.

It’s almost as if those sports writers who say that the athlete should confess his sins are really just interested in more column fodder.

(thanks to Ethan for the heads up)

Latest Posts
  1. Nationals sign Tony Gwynn, Jr.

    Mar 2, 2015, 11:05 PM EST

    Tony Gwynn Jr. Getty Getty Images

    Gwynn will function as insurance with Jayson Werth and Nate McLouth each rehabbing from shoulder surgery.

  2. Diamondbacks to wear patch in spring training games in memory of Kayla Mueller

    Mar 2, 2015, 10:01 PM EST

    kayla patch

    Mueller died at the age of 26 last month while in captivity in Syria.

  3. Zack Wheeler isn’t a fan of defensive shifts

    Mar 2, 2015, 8:58 PM EST

    Zack Wheeler Getty Getty Images

    The Mets cut back on defensive shifts with Wheeler on the mound last season because of his concerns.

  4. Today was a good day for the Tigers

    Mar 2, 2015, 7:45 PM EST

    tigers logo Getty Images

    Some key players are making some encouraging strides on the health front.

  5. Alex Rodriguez to make Grapefruit League debut Wednesday

    Mar 2, 2015, 6:29 PM EST

    Alex Rodriguez AP AP

    After facing a pitching machine during an intrasquad game today, Alex Rodriguez is ready for his first real-live game action since September of 2013.

  6. The Yankees have a lot of retired numbers. Other teams should try to be more like them.

    Mar 2, 2015, 4:26 PM EST

    Retired numbers

    Trammell and Whitaker in Detroit? Carter and Hernandez with the Mets?

  7. Cubs name Jon Lester as Opening Day starter

    Mar 2, 2015, 3:45 PM EST

    jon lester getty Getty Images

    Lester joined the Cubs on a six-year, $155 million deal in December.

  8. Another weird spring training injury: Corey Hart and a hot tub

    Mar 2, 2015, 1:48 PM EST

    Corey Hart AP

    Hart is attempting to resurrect his career on a one-year deal as a part-timer in Pittsburgh.

  9. Chase Utley still not recovered from January ankle injury

    Mar 2, 2015, 11:50 AM EST

    utley getty Getty Images

    GM says “they’re not going to play him for a little while.”

  10. Glen Perkins is “strong and healthy” after late-season arm problems

    Mar 2, 2015, 10:47 AM EST

    Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins Getty Images

    Since shifting to the bullpen full time in 2011 the Minnesota native has a 2.74 ERA and 286/63 K/BB ratio in 256 innings.

  11. Rockies add John Axford to 40-man roster, guarantee $2.6 million salary

    Mar 2, 2015, 10:15 AM EST

    John Axford AP

    Axford had a 3.92 ERA and 63/36 K/BB ratio in 55 innings for the Indians last season.

  12. Charlie Brown: the worst manager of all time?

    Mar 2, 2015, 9:15 AM EST

    Pow

    Patrick Dubuque of The Hardball Times mounts an in-depth study of the Peanuts’ Gang’s manager.

  13. John Baker, Jeremy Brown, coal mines and class

    Mar 2, 2015, 8:17 AM EST

    Coal Miners

    The lives of a couple of “Moneyball” players serves as a jumping off point for a good Monday morning rant.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Santana (2764)
  2. E. Cabrera (2658)
  3. M. Upton (2467)
  4. A. Simmons (2396)
  5. H. Bailey (2374)