Yesterday I rehashed the story of Ryan Braun (baseball player) blaming his failed test for performance enhancing drugs on a sample collector (who then got fired). If you haven’t read that one, do so before continuing with today.
Have you no shame? People asked of Ryan Braun. He accused a man of being an anti-Semite and got him fired simply because he didn’t want to take responsibility for his actions and allow his own reputation to be tarnished. Or maybe he just didn’t want to lose game checks. Who knows. But this question is an important one. It suggests that having no shame is a bad thing for us.
You see, we’re content to demand that Ryan Braun feel ashamed. And you know what? He probably does feel ashamed, regardless of what he says in the media. Those statements are always prepared by PR people. If shame is always wrong…should we demand that Braun, as wrong as he was, feel ashamed?
That’s the idea that I struggle with. On the one hand, I’m against the mob mentality that forces us to gang up against people who it’s easy to gang up against. Braun got a guy fired. It’s easy to gang up on that and heap shame upon the situation.
On the other hand…isn’t the presence of shame part of what makes many of us avoid behaviors like Ryan Braun’s? The question, “Have you no shame?” Is never a nice one.
Perhaps it isn’t the presence of shame but the fear of shame that pushes us away from the kind of blame-shifting Braun carried out. Perhaps many of us carry around a healthy fear of shame (or maybe it’s a healthy presence of shame, I don’t know which) that partially fuels our conscience.
Can some shame be a positive influence on us?