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Ryan Braun Breaks His Silence, Issues Apology

Ryan Braun makes a statement on his 50 game suspension that was overturned.

After a month of silence Ryan Braun has finally issued a carefully worded statement acknowledging his use of a banned substance during the 2011 season. The Milwaukee Brewers left fielder and 2011 NL MVP never says he used a performance enhancing drug, nor does he indicate how long he was using the banned substances.

“During the latter part of the 2011 season, I was dealing with a nagging injury and I turned to products for a short period of time that I shouldn’t have used. The products were a cream and a lozenge which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation.”

To his credit Braun does apologize four times in the statement, uses the word mistake five times and regret twice. But is the statement truly a reflection of Braun’s use of PEDs? Furthermore, does the statement meet the requirements of an apology, an apology the fans have been looking for?

Battling Injuries

We do know that Braun was lifted from the Brewers’ July 2, 2011 contest against Cincinnati with a left hamstring strain. The injury continued to nag the left fielder through July and August of that year.

But as of September 1, 2011 it appeared the injury was no longer an issue for Braun. In a memorable, and humiliating, moment Braun took a tumble rounding third base on August 31, 2011 for an inside-the-park home run.

He was quoted as saying, “I’m fortunate I didn’t get hurt” and escaped injury.

I guess you could say that July marks the second half of the season. But when Braun states that he used lozenges and cream “during the latter part of the 2011 season” I assume that is much later than July.

We also know that Braun has a history of oblique injuries dating back to the World Baseball Classic in 2009, and that he dealt with an intercostal strain earlier in the 2011 season.

So should we believe those injuries continued to plague Braun at the end of the season? Should we believe that his definition of “latter part of the 2011 season” includes the beginning of July? Should we believe his memory isn’t quite as clear as a Google search? Or should we believe that he continues to dodge the truth?

I believe the injuries could have continued to bother Braun in 2011 and that he sought ways to stay in the lineup considering the Milwaukee Brewers were in a battle to win the NL Central Division. But I am cautious, as all fans should be, in reading what Braun has issued because he has lied to us before.

Issuing an Apology

Regardless of the timing of Braun’s 2011 injuries, does this statement meet the requirements of an apology? Has Braun made a sufficient step towards redemption?

The statement is carefully crafted. However, like many fans, I would have preferred to see Braun issue a public apology. He didn’t have an issue standing before the world, full of hubris, to proclaim his innocence and to destroy the reputation of Dino Laurenzi Jr., the collector of Braun’s 2011 specimen.

I can certainly understand Braun’s ego is bruised, but a more noble step would have been facing the fans and the media.

I would normally say that fans should respect a player’s privacy, but in this case we also deserve the details. We need to fully understand what happened, accept it (or not) and then move on.

The apology appears to be sincere, but Braun also appeared to be sincere in the past. Is thisjust Braun’s PR team executing what is expected of him?

Road to Redemption

Just a few days ago the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asked “What does Ryan Braun need to do to redeem himself.” I appreciated Steve Eichenbaum’s recommendation and that of Laughlin Constable‘s very own, Evan Zeppos.

If Braun continues to play well on the field, his natural ability will soften the boos. Within the world of baseball he needs to continue to support a stricter testing policy for MLB and obviously avoid any other banned substances. But for the fans, for fans like myself, Braun needs to work very hard to regain our trust.

Reports suggest it is possible that he has used PEDs since his college days at Miami. If this is true than Braun has a much bigger problem and so do the Milwaukee Brewers. As it stands this is quite difficult for the franchise, and I do not believe they could absorb that sort of blow.

Personally, I would have liked to see him apologize via a taped statement or an interview. Braun should have come to the fans first.

Secondly, I would have liked too see him issue the apology in the local newspaper. Whether it was a full page ad or something else, it would have demonstrated that he was using his financial resources to reach out to us, not just the Brewers’ PR team.

And finally, I would like to see him truly apologize to the people he hurt. While the locker room is usually off limits, apologizing to his current and past teammates should be documented. He should also find a sincere way to apologize to the 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks and 2011 NL MVP runner-up Matt Kemp.

Forgiveness

As a Milwaukee Brewers season ticket holder I don’t know if I will ever feel comfortable with Braun on the team. Looking back at 2011 I have so many great memories, and they have now been stolen under the false performance of the team’s star player.

And while he was only one of nine players on the field, I feel like he cheated me out of my hard earned dollars.

The man isn’t the first to take PEDs, and likely won’t be the last. But he has tarnished the game.

For Milwaukee Brewers fans still willing to cheer for Braun, I ask why? If you don’t care that he took a banned substance I point to the fact that it can ruin the game and steal a career away from a clean player.

For fans that truly believe his apology and will cheer for him just because he plays for the home team, I ask why? It is OK to be angry with the man and for all the wrong he has done. Just because he plays in Milwaukee doesn’t mean we need to cheer for him. Until he redeems himself he should be treated as a nobody, as another player just trying to make the team.

I still think Ryan Braun is a disgrace to Milwaukee Brewers and all of Wisconsin. He has a long way to go before I cheer for him, wear his jersey or buy season tickets again.

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