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Ryan Braun: Cheater Suspended for 65 Games

by Tim Muma                                                        7/23/2013
                                                    6:00am


My belief that professional athletes were superhuman or heroic vanished a long time ago, but that doesn't mean they all have to be villains like Ryan Braun.

This wasn't a "mistake," this was a concentrated effort to cheat, followed by a calculated gamble to lie to everyone, including his teammates, the fans and Major League Baseball.

Up until recently, I would have considered him my favorite player. The incredible ability to hit a baseball with ease and power. The passion and emotion he showed on the field. The smooth and classy way he handled himself with the media and the community.

It was quite the acting performance by
Braun during Spring Training in 2012
All he ended up being was another corrupt athlete, artificially enhanced with drugs and driven by greed, pride and an arrogance to believe - not only that he would get away with cheating - but that he could sell everyone on his innocence.

Now watching his press conference from spring of 2012, he appears to be nothing more than a smarmy, PR-coached, sleazy salesman, pleading with anyone who would listen that he did nothing wrong. His actions on Monday, however, continued to fuel the cowardly reputation he's now earned as he left Miller Park hours before anyone could speak with him.

He sure was chomping at the bit to proclaim himself clean in 2012, but now, when he could have addressed the media to admit his guilt, he instead ran off to let his teammates and manager answer for him. Yes, he has every right to remain quiet as no one is entitled to get an answer from him, but that definitely hasn't been his style when he had a tale to tell.

Of course, some will still say, "He still hasn't admitted to using PEDs," but why would he simply allow a suspension without a fight if he was truly innocent? This tarnishes his name, ruins his legacy and severely damages his chances at a Hall of Fame induction should he continue to put up these types of numbers.

Don't tell me he "accepted the suspension" for the betterment of the Brewers, either.

He stood to lose more money if he was suspended next season. He's currently dealing with a nagging injury that's sapped his power (or is that something else?). He figured this was the only way to keep the details of his transgressions out of the media and get it behind him.

At this point, I'd be thoroughly embarrassed to
wear a Brewers' #8 jersey on my back
Before you believe he cares about the rest of the team, remember these are some of the same teammates he lied to and asked for their support through the whole PED ordeal. In reality, it was all part of his ruse in an effort to beat the system. Sadly, like most pro athletes, it was all about him.

The fact is, Braun tried to gain an illegal edge and was caught. If you're alright with that or you're fine with players using illegal substances to improve synthetically, then so be it.


However, under the current rules, he was fortunate to escape suspension after his failed test in 2011, dismissed only because of a faulty process.

Unless Braun comes clean with the entire truth - from start to finish - he should not be "commended" for this "act of acceptance." Only by facing the music and being 100% forthright can he fully earn back the respect of those that stood by him. Short of that, he is simply a cheater and a liar.

One thing he wasn't lying about is clear, as Braun kept saying, "The truth hasn't changed." That's correct. The truth was and is, he cheated the game.

I will forever cheer for the Brewers to win, but I refuse to make Braun a part of that. Assuming he's still on the team in 2014, I will not be clapping or yelling for him to get a hit or score a run. I may actually boo him when he walks up and cheer wildly when he K's - and I'll make no apologies for it.

While I wanted to believe his stories, the longer
it went on, the more I figured he was guilty
With two young sons who love baseball and the Brewers, I wouldn't fathom justifying Braun's actions by wearing his jersey or applauding his efforts. I'm not going to send the message that breaking the rules consistently and lying to avoid punishment is fine as long as you're trying to make a lot of money and you eventually "admit wrongdoing" when all the cards are stacked against you and it's your best strategy.

I'm glad they have other players they call their favorites, because I want them to appreciate people who do things the right way to the best of their ability and within the standards set before them.

I am so vehemently against Braun that I truly hope they can find a trading partner to deal with; Toronto had no problem signing Melky Cabrera for $16 million less than a year after his PED suspension. You have to wonder if some of those same guys with the Brewers, that he convinced should stand behind him, now want nothing more to do with him. It may be in the best interest of everyone if they found a way to move Braun elsewhere.

Personally, I don't want to hope for a Brewers victory every day while wishing for number eight to wear a size four collar. The San Francisco Giants' fans got under my skin as they gleefully praised each Barry Bonds swing that resulted in a home run. I have no interest in stooping to their level of jubilant ignorance or strategic excuses.

Sure, the Brewers are better with Braun in the lineup - and they'll never get enough value back in a trade involving the left fielder - but, selfishly, I'm fine with that. I'd much rather watch a team struggle with guys playing "clean" than knowingly cheering for someone like Braun.

For those who know me, I was all about dealing Carlos Gomez in the off-season for pitching, but now, I've never wanted a player off "my team" more than Ryan Braun. Let Gomez, Jean Segura and Jonathan Lucroy be the faces of the franchise and distance itself from all of this.

There's no reason to think he hasn't been
using PEDs since college
Did I ever think Braun was perfect? Of course not - nobody is - but most people aren't "this" either. 

He didn't kill anyone and there are a lot of other things in this world that are far worse than cheating in a professional sport and lying to cover things up; however, I'm allowed to want some form of integrity and honesty in a game I love to watch, coach, play, analyze and immerse myself in.




1 comment:

  1. Well I have no desire to watch the Yuni Betencourt's of baseball in a Brewer uniform while a great player like Ryan Braun gets traded for pennies on the dollar. Ask Kansas City Royals fans if years of losing is preferable to having a talent like Ryan Braun on the field and winning. Baseball didn't care about Melky Cabrera helping the Giants win the World Series. Why shouldn't I support Ryan Braun when the lynch mob (MLB) is trying to convince me that Braun is the most EVIL person to ever wear a MLB uniform? Truthfully, I despise hypocrisy and Selig and company are loaded with hypocrisy.

    ReplyDelete


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