COMMENTARY | Exactly one month after Ryan Braun was suspended 65 games by Major League Baseball for violating the Joint Drug Treatment and Prevention Program, the maligned Milwaukee Brewers slugger finally went into more specifics regarding his past performance-enhancing drug use.
Only once again, it just wasn't enough.
The statement, and it's a lengthy one, explains the types of PEDs Braun used in 2011 (although not in great detail), why he used them (possibly to recover from a nagging calf injury via the Los Angeles Times) and includes several apologies, including one to his sample collector, Dino Laurenzi Jr. (why?). Braun also reached out to Brewers fans in a separate statement, apologizing and acknowledging the road back to earning their trust would be a difficult one.
But these were written statements. They don't count until he gets in front of a camera. But wait a minute -- how much more would Braun have said beyond his statement? Nothing, just like back in February of 2012 when Braun defiantly issued his victory speech following his successful appeal of a 50-game suspension.
He better have apologized in person to Laurenzi Jr., everyone involved in the arbitration process, Bud Selig and Michael Weiner already, because, well, that's what he needs to do.
Do we want to know even more about Braun's PED use? Of course. "The products were a cream and a lozenge" don't give us an exact description of what he used back in 2011. There have also been accusations that Braun used PEDs dating all the way back to his playing days at Miami (FL) by his one-time friend, who is now suing him for defamation.
Another common criticism of Braun's statement is that he realized on his own, without baseball's evidence, that it was time "to come to grips with the truth." He then requested a second meeting with the MLB to discuss a suspension, something he wanted to get out of the way as soon as possible.
Considering Braun was the first of those linked to Biogenesis to be suspended -- by a few weeks -- could support his reasoning. It is certainly hard to believe that Braun was just willing to lie down after fighting so hard for so long, but maybe he did. Maybe Braun is truly a genuine guy, and this entire fiasco was simply too overwhelming for the real Braun to handle. After all, he did issue the statement on an off-day for the Brewers so that his teammates wouldn't have to face the media.
But there's no way people can believe him. Once a liar, always a liar.
Except why would Braun lie? The federal government is calling witnesses to the grand jury in the investigation of Biogenesis. For his lawyers to allow him to issue a statement full of untruths would be downright foolish. And there doesn't seem to be any evidence of PED use beyond the latter part of the 2011 season.
Enough what Braun's statement entailed. The amount of backlash it was going to receive was predictable, and Braun knew it. Basically, no matter what he said -- even if he said more, which is completely unnecessary -- it was never going to be enough. "The statement came too late" or "This needed to be done in front of a camera" or "How are we supposed to believe everything he said?" were all reactions Braun was going to receive before anyone even scanned through his 10-paragraph testimony.
And, of course, we had to deal with the tired request that Braun surrender his 2011 National League MVP Award to Matt Kemp. Might as well have every player in the history of baseball that's cheated give back every award they've ever won.
Speaking of dead horses, the poor, cheated Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2011 NLDS. They would have won the World Series if it hadn't been for Braun, never mind the other 24 players on Milwaukee's roster that helped the Brewers win that series. They stole signs, too, you know that? I can almost see the halos hovering above each and every Diamondbacks player's head.
That includes manager Kirk Gibson, who blasted Braun and his pending apology just a few days before Braun issued his statement. You know -- the same guy who received a cortisone shot and painkillers that allowed him to hit his iconic walkoff home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
Let's take Braun for his word when he says he only used PEDs to aid his recovery from injury in 2011. Kind of like how we took Andy Pettitte for his word when he said the exact same thing in 2007? And that was only after his name landed in the infamous Mitchell Report. Pettitte was never punished, even after admitting his use of human growth hormone, and it's because he did the right thing, which he and Jason Giambi are somehow praised for to this very day.
Braun's statement was simply another chance for people to stand up on their high and mighty pedestals and lambast him for his lies, his imperfections and his written statement that apparently wasn't even close to being enough for these hyenas.
Taking a step back, Braun said far more than he needed to say and apologized to more people than he needed to apologize to. He clearly put a lot of time and effort into that statement, a statement that frankly didn't even need to be issued. We all know what happened -- Braun used PEDs, and that's never going to change no matter what he says. He's a professional athlete, not a professional apology issuer.
Sure, people want more. They naturally do. Braun lied for a long period of time, and people don't like liars, especially if they're cheaters, too. They want to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They want him to address every single detail and every single allegation. What exactly did you use? Was it really only in 2011?
But they might not get an answer, even when Braun is inevitably once again back in front of a camera, being asked the same questions he just provided answers to. That's going to happen, and Braun may play the, "I'm not here to talk about the past" card.
Guess what? He isn't, and it's time to move on.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.
You can get the discussion going and follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe_.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ryan Braun
- Milwaukee Brewers