Do you ever gamble with your reputation? Is it worth the risk?
There is an old cliché in baseball scouting: “Good hit, no field”. It refers to players offensively inclined but defensively deficient. Baseball has provided a place for these semi-talented athletes. They can become American League Designated Hitters. Or, play center field for the Chicago Cubs.
And then, we have the infamous Pete Rose whose gambling issues have led to his banishment from both the game and consideration for the Hall of Fame. For Mr. Rose, we might alter the cliché to “Good Hit, No Think“. Major League Baseball has not found a place for him.
Pete Rose was recently back in the news when he admitted in an ESPN interview that he didn’t just bet on baseball games. He wagered on every game he managed for the Cincinnati Reds over six years. This admission comes 18 years after the fact. For at least 10 years, Rose denied all gambling allegations despite published evidence. Once admired for his aggressive play, he has been publicly chastised for his indiscretions.
What if the once beloved Charlie Hustle had come clean 18 years ago? To err is human. The American public has been known to be a forgiving bunch. Marv Albert is back broadcasting after his scandal. Time heals all wounds, provided you don’t continue to open them as Rose has done with his repeated denials. Many believe that Pete Rose could be in the Hall of Fame today if he had promptly confessed and apologized.
The reason that I site this example is to remember that, as humans, we all err occasionally. In the final accounting, aren’t we judged more by the way we respond to our errors than by the mistakes themselves? Does it ever pay to sweep things under the rug. If you’re keeping score at home, this was the seventh cliché of the article. And it ain’t over till it’s over. We now return our our program, already in progress.
Is Rose the exception? What did denial tactics do to the reputations of these two?
Bi-Partisan, Infamous Denials
“I did not have sex with that woman.” — William Jefferson Clinton
“I am not a crook.” – Richard Millhouse Nixon
Ever notice how the media protects the innocent by using the full names of the guilty?
So the next error you or your organization experiences, take a lesson from Pete Rose’s mistakes. Be a stand-up guy (or gal) and admit it. Always be to one to make the first phone call. It is always better than the conversation you have if the damaged party calls you. Your reputation takes a lifetime to build, but can be lost in an instant. If you habitually act with integrity, you can still be credited with “the save“.