Former White House spinmeister Ari Fleischer did a good -- but hardly great -- job in scripting Mark McGwire's so-called confession/apology.
It was very smart to take a buck-shot approach to the media: No exclusives, plenty of availability for all the "big" outlets, a credibility-creating sit-down with Bob Costas.
It was smart to apologize. It was smart to bring up apologizing to the Marises, in particular. It was smart to offer a bit of "hard" news about the reason he said "don't want to talk about the past."
It was undermining to let McGwire insist on the "I only did it to get healthy." That may very well be true -- in fact, I totally believe him.
But when he leans back on the "god-given hand-eye coordination" as the source of his success -- implying that the PEDs only got him to a level playing field -- he loses me and a lot of others.
He ignores what I'll call the "But For" implication: "BUT FOR the drugs..." there would be no Hall of Fame career, no 1998, no records, no superstardom.
That is the very definition of "performance-enhancing."
To suggest otherwise is ludicrous on its face. As I say in today's SN column, he should have been much more explicit that he simply could not have done anything without the help of the drugs.
Check out the rest of the column for more, including what he should do next; whether I "accept" his apology (everyone needs to make their own choice); and more.
This Fleischer detail was new to me this morning -- but consider whether you want to trust the apology of a player whose talking points come from a guy whose other client is the BCS.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks have to be kind of annoyed -- their franchise is relevant for the first time since they made the Super Bowl (maybe even more so) and it's eclipsed by McGwire.
I think Carroll is going to do a very good job, by the way. I am less certain about USC maintaining its elite status...particularly if they hire Jack Del Rio.
As a Florida hoops fan, I am very very nervous about what's going to happen tonight in Gainesville when Kentucky comes to town -- the Gators could lose by 30.
Anyway: Complete column here. What's YOUR take on the McGwire apology?