The Miami Marlins have reinstated Dee Gordon from the restricted list, designating Don Kelly for assignment to make room in the roster. Miami is welcoming Gordon back and will likely bat him leadoff and start him at second base tonight versus the St. Louis Cardinals. However, via The Uninterrupted (ESPN link), Gordon released his apology to the fans about his actions that led to the 80-game suspension for PED use.
In the apology, Gordon asks for forgiveness from the young fans whom he felt he let down with his decision-making leading to the suspension. He admits to having the substances in his body, though he never fully discusses what occurred that got them in there to begin with. Remember, Gordon reported that he did not take any substances willfully, and he still essentially maintains this story in his apology. He apologizes for not being more careful and accountable for what he put into his body in terms of supplements and substances.
Look, it is not some willful admission of guilt. It did not need to be. Gordon apologized to fans about doing something wrong, even if he maintains that he did not do it purposefully. He took on the blame of something for this incident, and as far I’m concerned, that should be enough. He has served his suspension, he needs to make certain this does not happen again, and that will be that. It appeared to be a heartfelt sentiment, and that is all you can ask for from someone who has done wrong.
"You've got to hold yourself accountable for your standards of living and training. I didn't hold myself accountable for any of that," Gordon said in the video. "I thought, being the smallest guy, I would never fail a drug test. I didn't pay attention at all, man, and I didn't meet the standards. That's my fault and no one else's. But don't give up on me. I will earn your trust and your support back with my play and my actions in the community."
Gordon makes mention of the fact that, no matter what you look like, you can be implicated if something goes wrong. But he took on the responsibility, and it is more than you might get for other offenders in the past who have vehemently denied their wrongdoing.
The Marlins, for their part, are disappointed but willing to move on and re-welcome Gordon back.
Marlins president David Samson said then that the second baseman had betrayed the team and its fans. On Wednesday, Samson said the Marlins are glad to have Gordon back.
"I believe that America and our fans and our players and us, we're a pretty forgiving society," Samson said. "It's important Dee ask for that forgiveness, and he has, and he'll receive that. He's got to continue to work to get himself back in with his teammates and the fans and my son."
David Samson is not perhaps the person Marlins fans most closely associate with honesty, but the message here is still a valuable one. This organization is treating Gordon like a member of their family, and this is ultimately the best way to handle the situation. Ostracizing a player for his actions does nothing for the team or the player and only can be damaging in the long run. Being careful about that player moving forward is appropriate, but being inclusive will help him rebuild his trust and value and allow you to utilize him in the best way possible.
Maybe the Marlins should not be so gun-ho about placing the relatively rusty Gordon in the starting lineup. Maybe they should more skeptical that last season was a career high for a potentially juiced Gordon. But all of this just means they need to temper expectations rather than let an asset go to waste. Gordon should be a member of this team, and Miami is appropriately treating him as such. Let’s see what he can do to help this club.