Ryan Braun: A Cheater, a Liar and So Much More

Without going on a curse-laden tirade, there are few ways to express my feelings on the Ryan Braun situation, but let me try: Braun undoubtedly should be ashamed of his actions. I mean, what could have been going through the man’s mind when he flatly denied use of performance-enhancing drugs?

What stands out to me in all this is the predominant “me first” attitude blanketing the entire Biogenesis scandal.

And no one epitomizes that attitude more than the man branded as a “wuss” by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith: Braun, erstwhile MVP of the National League.

PED use can be somewhat forgiven, as evidenced by Jason Giambi: In 2007, the ex-Yankee slugger admitted to using a PED, and now, after reinventing himself, he is “beloved” in the Indians’ clubhouse and celebrated as an old dude who can still put bat to ball, as he did in this walk-off home run in July:

Likewise, Andy Pettite, who publicly admitted to HGH use in 2007, has continued his career and is, like Giambi, well-liked by his teammates and respected by Yankees fans.

While juicing is terrible for the players (just look at the health risks, which include higher risk of cancer, severe depression, liver damage, and heart attack), terrible for the fans and terrible for the game of baseball, fans tend toward forgiveness of their heroes. PED use is bad — really bad — but it need not destroy users’ reputations.

The real reputation-destroyer is deceit.

“I truly believe in my heart and I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point.” —Ryan Braun in February 2012 after his initial 50-game suspension was overturned by arbitrator Shyam Das, who was later fired

The above statement, made before the start of Brewers’ spring training in Phoenix, has since been exposed as a brazen falsehood. It’s not just the lie that set baseball fans off–it’s the damning way in which he lied, proclaiming that he would “bet his life” that he never took a PED and that he’s a “victim of a process that completely broke down and failed.”

On July 22, after accepting a 65-game suspension, Braun was singing a markedly different tune.

“As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it is has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.”

To make matters even worse for “The Hebrew Hammer,” during the 2011 playoffs Braun’s levels of testosterone — a supplement banned by MLB — were “insanely high, the highest ever for anyone who has ever taken a test, twice the level of the highest test ever taken,” according to the New York Daily News.

On a seemingly daily basis, another story has come out portraying Braun as nothing short of a phony. On August 19, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported that Braun, “told stars around baseball before spring training 2012 that the man who collected his urine that tested positive for synthetic testosterone (Dino Laurenzi Jr.) was anti-Semitic [Braun is Jewish] and a Chicago Cubs fan in an effort to gather support throughout the game.”

Laurenzi later confirmed that Braun’s discrediting comments toward him caused “great emotional distress for me and my family.”

It’s one thing to lie to the cameras, but it’s another to throw another man’s credibility under the bus — and that’s where Braun crossed the line.

Braun’s statements in Phoenix (video below) are, in hindsight, nothing short of sickening and disgraceful.

His lies, persistent and victimizing, ruined the reputation of Laurenzi Jr., ended Das’ career, and let down the countless friends and players he pleaded to for support. One in particular is fellow Wisconsin idol Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers ripped of this series of tweets in 2011 after Braun, with whom Rodgers owns a restaurant, tested positive for a PED and garnered Rodgers’ support:

Rodgers also bet his salary with a fan on Braun’s innocence. He unquestionably lost the bet and subsequently deleted the tweet.

Rodgers later called Braun’s PED use “shocking” and “disappointing,” and added, “I was backing up a friend. He looked me in the eye on multiple occasions and repeatedly denied these allegations and said they were not true.”

As for the 2011 NL MVP?

“He lied to a lot of people. I was convinced, after that MVP, that he didn’t do it. I think he should hand over that MVP to Matt Kemp,” Dodgers 2B Skip Schumaker told reporters in July.

Dino Laurenzi Jr., the man who collected Ryan Braun's positive test sample. Braun defamed Laurenzi Jr., calling him an anti-semite and a Cubs fan.

Dino Laurenzi Jr., the man who collected Ryan Braun’s positive test sample. Braun defamed Laurenzi Jr. in 2012, calling him an anti-semite/ Read Laurenzi Jr.’s full statement on the matter here. BILL SIEL/KENOSHA NEWS

Since his releasing a formal statement after being suspended, he Braun hasn’t spoken to the media. Instead, he left his teammates and coaches to stand uncomfortably in front of the cameras to and answer questions about him- the same teammates and coaches to whom he swore his innocence.

As punishment for all of his deceit, Braun received a 65-game suspension, meaning he will lose a mere losing just $3,251,366 of his monster contract, under which he is guaranteed to earn at least $116 million following his suspension. 65 games simply isn’t enough (the rest of this season and all of next season would be a start), as the financial loss hardly affects Braun at all. His upstanding reputation, however, is long, long, gone.

For all his muscle, Ryan Braun looks like a weakling, tossing his now-ruined reputation around like the baseballs he artificially sent to the Miller Park seats throughout his tainted career.

And no drug can fix that.

By Sam Brief

Feel free to leave a comment below! Your opinion is always welcome.

The Sports Brief is on Twitter! Follow @sambrief for even more insight and opinion.

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46 thoughts on “Ryan Braun: A Cheater, a Liar and So Much More

  1. Good points Sam. Did you read Kirk Gibson today? Here’s the link http://bit.ly/19tFEDl Gibby talked about how Braun cheated his competitors. Were the Diamondbacks denied a trip to the World Series because of Braun’s juicing?
    We’ll never know of course. Sure suspend Braun but how does baseball make it right for the guys Braun beat out of jobs and opportunity? How do we make that right?

    I don’t stray from hockey much but did for you Bud!

    • Thanks for straying away from the ice for a moment. You’re right, it’s difficult to say that the D-Backs would have won the World Series, but that question has to linger in the heads of everyone in Phoenix. It’s quite ironic that Braun made his emphatic denial comments at spring training in…Phoenix.

    • I tried to make this an A-Rod-free article because I feel that he has taken Braun out of the spotlight, a fate Braun doesn’t deserve. But yes, you’re exactly right. Also, Rodriguez’s comments to the media — often in a happy-go-lucky tone — make it seem as if he isn’t watching the same games as us. After his Bronx debut: “The energy was great…it was an amazing experience.” I guess he didn’t hear the 60% boos from the Yankee faithful.

      What do you think his fate is? Will MLB shorten his suspension?

      • Here’s what it comes down to… Braun eventually copped and took his punishment, Rodriguez is looking to turn this into a Supreme Court case. There’s no way MLB drops his suspension.

      • And now it seems as if A-Rod exposed fellow Yankee Francisco Cervelli’s PED use WHILE Rodriguez was doping as well. That’s just messed up. The man is lost in himself.

  2. Braun is the worst! He deserves the other liar and smug cheaters suspension. He should have been suspended for all of next year too. He took the easy way out and accepted baseballs slap on the wrist and next year he will start again. It’s a giant black eye that baseball will have to deal with

  3. Couldn’t have said it any better Sam! He should never have been let off the hook on that “technicality” crap involving the FedEx delivery crap. However the thing about cheaters that invariably rings true consistently is that they really deep down want to get caught because cheating can be very stressful. Betcha Braun sleeps like a baby now …
    And speaking of cheaters, where would you put Clemens Sam? Would he not rank up there with the Brauns and Arods?

    • Clemens also tried to throw someone under the bus: His trainer, Brain McNamee. Clemens was faced with damning evidence proving his steroid use, and emphatically called his trainer a liar- in court! What an ego-maniac…

  4. Excellent article. Braun should add robber to his title as well. He is robbing the Milwaukee Brewers. Robbed their fans too.

  5. Sam

    Braun`s suspension was arranged by his agent and lawyer Nev Balelo , after repeated meetings with Bud Selig . If you remember it was the commissioner`s original stance to seek at a minimum no less than 100 hundred games as a suspension. All of a sudden that figure became anywhere between 50 to sixty-five .

    Baseball`s hierarchy simply does not possess a backbone ! Never mind , that the players themselves not embroiled in the scandal have in large part remained all too silent with undoubtedly, MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner leading that particular stance ,

    Left you a response concerning my most recent piece .

    tophatal ……………….

    • I can’t say it enough, but 65 games just isn’t enough. Financially, there’s hardly a dent and in terms of playing time, he loses less than half a season!

      Who’s worse: A-Rod or Braun?

      • Sam

        Who`s worse ? There is little to choose between A Rod , Ryan Braun and now Miguel Tejada . Yet here is a another damning indictment ! Why have so many players not embroiled in this scandal stood by and remained so silent ? Jeter , Pujols , Ryan Howard , Josh Hamilton and others have all remained silent . Never mind the union ave done noting to work in conjunction with MLB on the issue . Not that working in conjunction with Bud Selig has ever amounted to anything beneficial for the game of baseball. I mean instant replay , when you such stark financial imbalances amongst the teams and the ongoing issues of constant steroid cheating ? Give me a break ! Sheer and utter nonsense with the whole panacea of baseball .

        Need we touch on the owners who have all profited financially from this fraud ? Way too much hypocrisy within the game and way too much asinine apathy amongst the fans , themselves !

        tophatal ……..

    • Update- Braun’s statement on suspension:

      “Now that the initial MLB investigation is over, I want to apologize for my actions and provide a more specific account of what I did and why I deserved to be suspended. I have no one to blame but myself. I know that over the last year and a half I made some serious mistakes, both in the information I failed to share during my arbitration hearing and the comments I made to the press afterwards.

      I have disappointed the people closest to me — the ones who fought for me because they truly believed me all along. I kept the truth from everyone. For a long time, I was in denial and convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong.

      It is important that people understand that I did not share details of what happened with anyone until recently. My family, my teammates, the Brewers organization, my friends, agents, and advisors had no knowledge of these facts, and no one should be blamed but me. Those who put their necks out for me have been embarrassed by my behavior. I don’t have the words to express how sorry I am for that.

      Here is what happened. 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. It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately.

      I deeply regret many of the things I said at the press conference after the arbitrator’s decision in February 2012. At that time, I still didn’t want to believe that I had used a banned substance. I think a combination of feeling self righteous and having a lot of unjustified anger led me to react the way I did. I felt wronged and attacked, but looking back now, I was the one who was wrong. I am beyond embarrassed that I said what I thought I needed to say to defend my clouded vision of reality. I am just starting the process of trying to understand why I responded the way I did, which I continue to regret. There is no excuse for any of this.

      For too long during this process, I convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong. After my interview with MLB in late June of this year, I came to the realization that it was time to come to grips with the truth. I was never presented with baseball’s evidence against me, but I didn’t need to be, because I knew what I had done. I realized the magnitude of my poor decisions and finally focused on dealing with the realities of-and the punishment for-my actions.

      I requested a second meeting with Baseball to acknowledge my violation of the drug policy and to engage in discussions about appropriate punishment for my actions. By coming forward when I did and waiving my right to appeal any sanctions that were going to be imposed, I knew I was making the correct decision and taking the first step in the right direction. It was important to me to begin my suspension immediately to minimize the burden on everyone I had so negatively affected- my teammates, the entire Brewers organization, the fans and all of MLB. There has been plenty of rumor and speculation about my situation, and I am aware that my admission may result in additional attacks and accusations from others.

      I love the great game of baseball and I am very sorry for any damage done to the game. I have privately expressed my apologies to Commissioner Selig and Rob Manfred of MLB and to Michael Weiner and his staff at the Players’ Association. I’m very grateful for the support I’ve received from them. I sincerely apologize to everybody involved in the arbitration process, including the collector, Dino Laurenzi, Jr. I feel terrible that I put my teammates in a position where they were asked some very difficult and uncomfortable questions. One of my primary goals is to make amends with them.

      I understand it’s a blessing and a tremendous honor to play this game at the Major League level. I also understand the intensity of the disappointment from teammates, fans, and other players. When it comes to both my actions and my words, I made some very serious mistakes and I can only ask for the forgiveness of everyone I let down. I will never make the same errors again and I intend to share the lessons I learned with others so they don’t repeat my mistakes. Moving forward, I want to be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem.

      I support baseball’s Joint Drug Treatment and Prevention Program and the importance of cleaning up the game. What I did goes against everything I have always valued — achieving through hard work and dedication, and being honest both on and off the field. I also understand that I will now have to work very, very hard to begin to earn back people’s trust and support. I am dedicated to making amends and to earning back the trust of my teammates, the fans, the entire Brewers’ organization, my sponsors, advisors and from MLB. I am hopeful that I can earn back the trust from those who I have disappointed and those who are willing to give me the opportunity. I am deeply sorry for my actions, and I apologize to everyone who has been adversely affected by them.”

  6. Sam

    Next we will find out, that Jeter takes Adderall , not because of ADHD , but merely because he is sick and tired of the drama in the Yankees clubhouse of because of the drama and continued friction between Alex Rodriguez and GM Brian Cashman .

      • Everything about Ryan Braun is disingenuous and he cannot be taken at his word concerning anything he might say , even if he swore on a stack of bibles .

        Your impressions of Geno Smit`s performance for the Jets ? Those three picks were priceless and might just be a clear indication of what one can expect from the player . Quarterback play for the Jets can be best described as mediocre .

        Vince Young will be Aaron Rodgers` backup in Green Bay ? Don`t look now but JaMarcus Russell will go on a diet, lose 60 lbs and make his own play to get back in the NFL ,

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