Rose admission lacks contrition

We haven't heard a genuine apology from Pete Rose yet, nor have we seen any contrition.

Originally Published: January 7, 2004
By Joe Morgan | Special to ESPN.com

More from Joe Morgan: Eckersley, Molitor worthy of Hall honor

I'm glad that Pete Rose finally is admitting that he bet on baseball games when he was the manager of the Cincinnati Reds (including Reds' games). But I wish he had acknowledged his gambling in a different format. I'm disappointed that he chose this course.

Pete Rose
Pete Rose is baseball's all-time Hit King.
Rather than holding a press conference, standing up and apologizing for what he's done, Rose has written a book that he'll profit from. Writing a book is the easy way out -- plus you profit from it.

I'm also disappointed that this week's Rose headlines have taken attention away from Tuesday's election of Dennis Eckersley and Paul Molitor to the Hall of Fame. They deserved the baseball spotlight to be focused solely on them.

Rose has been banned from Major League Baseball since 1989 -- including the Hall of Fame -- based on an agreement he made with MLB following an investigation of his gambling as Reds manager (he denied the gambling then but is admitting to it now).

Obviously, Rose's playing accomplishments merit the Hall of Fame, because he holds the all-time record for career hits (4,256). But his behavior as a manager has put his Hall candidacy in jeopardy to this day.

Rose and I were teammates on the Reds, and we won two World Series together (in 1975 and '76). The last time I spoke with Rose was more than a year ago. I'll always consider him a friend, but everyone makes their own life decisions.

Before making a definitive statement on Rose's admission, I need to read his book and watch his interview with ABC's Charles Gibson (Thursday, ABC, 10 p.m ET). But I know I haven't seen a genuine apology from Rose yet. Nor have I seen any contrition.

I know I haven't seen a genuine apology from Rose yet.
Joe Morgan
Here's an excerpt from Rose's book that appeared in an article on ESPN.com: "I'm sure that I'm supposed to act all sorry or sad or guilty now that I've accepted that I've done something wrong. But you see, I'm just not built that way. ... So let's leave it like this: I'm sorry it happened, and I'm sorry for all the people, fans and family that it hurt. Let's move on."

Do you see any contrition there? I don't. If you're asking for someone to show you some sympathy, I believe you should show remorse whether you're "built that way" or not.

As the vice chairman for the Hall of Fame, I can't speak to whether Rose should become eligible for the Hall now that he's acknowledged he bet on baseball. It's up to commissioner Bud Selig to make that decision. Has Rose met the qualifications that Selig put in front of him for reinstatement? That's the question Selig must answer.

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is an analyst for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. During the season, he contributes a weekly column to ESPN.com.

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