Ryan Braun probably thought the worst was over regarding his part in the Biogenesis PED scandal. Braun has forfeited playing time with the Milwaukee Brewers, $3.4 million in salary, some good friends, business opportunities, minutes on his cell phone calling fans to apologize and a big chunk of his reputation.
And now, Braun's status as a Jewish icon has come into doubt. Scheduled to share the cover of a kids book with Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman for author David J. Goldman's "Jewish Sports Stars: Athletic Heroes, Past and Present" (it used to be a leaflet), Braun has found himself replaced by Sandy Koufax (who doesn't care).
The book was scheduled for an August release, but Braun's association with Biogenesis that brought a 65-game suspension sent the publisher scrambling. Braun's story still is featured inside, on pages 6-8, because it would have been cost prohibitive to remove him entirely, Joni Sussman of Kar-Ben told Publisher's Weekly. Instead of erasing him from the inside, they added a blurb to the back flap acknowledging Braun's suspension for PEDs. It was the least they could do, Sussman said:
“While Ryan Braun is a very talented baseball player and we were originally excited to have a contemporary sports figure of his talent and stature with such a strong identification to his Jewish heritage on the cover, there was no question that, after the steroids scandal surfaced, his image was tarnished and he was no longer appropriate to serve as a role model for Jewish kids.”
If Braun really is sorry and repentant as he claims, and he's not still busy playing everyone, that must hurt. It's a good thing, though, that the book's publishers didn't expunge Braun entirely. It's kind of like these people who won't recognize that Alex Rodriguez surpassed Lou Gehrig for most career grand slams because they don't like A-Rod. Just because you feel that way doesn't mean guys like Braun and A-Rod weren't here.
Big BLS H/N: The Deadspin