If a lawsuit filed against Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun has any merit, it's at least a major blow to his reputation. At worst, it shows he tried to cheat the system long before getting to Major League Baseball.
Braun, who has been suspended for the rest of the 2013 season for his involvement in the Biogenesis case, is being sued for defamation by a person described as "a lifelong friend," one who helped him win an appeal for a positive PED test in 2011.
ESPN reports that the friend, Ralph Sasson, also says Braun "doped through his years at the University of Miami, committed academic fraud and accepted money while a student." The college years can be so formative.
Sasson asserts that Braun and his agent, Nez Balelo, agreed to pay him $5,000 to help defend Braun by "conducting background research" on Dino Laurenzi Jr., the person who collected Braun's ill-fated urine sample. That's French for "digging up dirt" in order to injure Laurenzi's reputation. Sasson collected the money, but only after threatening to sue, which he did anyway because he charges that Braun made "defamatory statements about him to undisclosed parties."
Sasson did not elaborate to ESPN, saying the suit speaks for itself.
Another item alleged that didn't come to fruition because Sasson refused:
The lawsuit also says that Braun asked Sasson to "prank call" ESPN "Outside the Lines" reporter Mark Fainaru-Wada, who was working with reporter T.J. Quinn on a story in December 2011 that Braun had failed a PED test. According to the lawsuit, Braun wanted Sasson to say, "the original information Quinn and Fainaru-Wada had obtained regarding Braun was part of an elaborate conspiracy to assassinate the character of multiple baseball players and agents including, but not limited to, Ryan Braun."
The old "trying-to-throw-them-off-the-trail" trick. Didn't work.
Braun's attorney says Sasson is trying to capitalize on the recent attention Braun has received.
It's worth noting that, earlier Friday, "60 Minutes" reported that someone from "the inner circle" of Alex Rodriguez leaked to Yahoo! Sports that Braun's name was to be found among documents related to Biogenesis, a shuttered health clinic in Miami reputed to have distributed drugs to major league players. It's the policy of Yahoo! Sports not to disclose sources.