No questions were allowed at Ron Washington’s public confession Thursday afternoon.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any. But for now, Washington’s 31/2minute admission of marital infidelity — with his wife Gerry uncomfortably sitting by Thursday — will have to do.
“I made a mistake,” the former Texas Rangers manager said. “And I’m embarrassed, more than I’ve ever been in my life.
“I don’t run when I make a mistake. If you put yourself in situations, you own it.”
Washington was speaking publically for the first time since resigning Sept. 5, a two-week silence that gave blustery root to the question of what could have been so serious that a self-professed baseball “lifer” would walk away from one of the game’s best jobs.
By “owning” it Thursday, Washington seemed to be trying to end that speculation and turn the page.
“All I ask is for your forgiveness and your understanding,” he said. “I also ask that you respect our privacy as we go on with our lives.
“This matter is certainly personal, and we’re trying hard to put it behind us.”
In the public relations world, this is called crisis management — or, more to the point, damage control. Clients are urged to get out in front of the story, or the media soon will.
Rumors were in the air. There are confidentiality agreements in place. Lawyers have been involved.
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But without specifics, all the media had were questions about Washington’s abrupt resignation.
Thursday, therefore, was just Damage Control 101 — namely, if no one in the media seems to know the story, give them one.
“I was not truthful with my wife after 42 years,” Washington said, obliging. “I broke her trust. I’m here today to own that mistake and to apologize to her and to those I disappointed. And to those who have trusted me.
“I let them down.”
Washington didn’t elaborate, nor did he name any names. This likely won’t be the lead item on TMZ tonight.
Unless you’re the president of the United States, a modern public figure’s confession of infidelity isn’t likely to stir anyone into casting stones. But that’s where the questions come in.
If Washington simply needs a personal leave of absence to mend fences with his wife Gerry, why didn’t the Rangers grant him one? And if the matter was so serious that he needed to walk away from Texas, why is he already talking about returning to baseball?
“The Rangers gave me a home and I’m thankful for that,” Washington said.
“I look to the future and getting back in the game and continuing with my career.”
No, we weren’t allowed to ask Mrs. Washington what she thinks of that.
By appearing before the media Thursday and saying what he did, Washington likely spares some people — from Jon Daniels to his family physician — from being implicated as the reasons behind his departure.
He’s probably right. Guys with 40-year careers in the dugout usually find another baseball job.
If there is a juicier side to this story, what purpose would it serve in unearthing it now, other than to satisfy prurient curiosities?
“Today I’m at a very low time in my life,” Washington said Thursday.
He gave us his side of the story. It will have to do.