Ryan Braun Suspended, Sorta Comes Clean

The truth has set him free...at least for the remainder of the season.

The truth has set him free…at least for the remainder of the season.

On Monday MLB announced that Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun would be suspended without pay for the remainder of the season for violations of Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The Brewers have 65 remaining games on their schedule this season, which translates to a loss of approximately $3 million of his $8.5 million annual salary.

The suspension comes as a result of Braun’s connections to Biogenesis, a now defunct Miami anti-aging clinic that peddled human growth hormone and anabolic steroids to a number of players. The clinic was investigated by the Miami New Times, which published their report linking a number of baseball players to baseball’s latest scandal in January 2013.

Braun wasn’t actually mentioned by name in the initial report, but was later named in a follow up report by Yahoo! Sports.

The announcement marks a career low point for Braun, who has experienced an epic fall from grace. His professional rock bottom comes just over 18 months after being named the NL MVP in November 2011, which was his peak.

His involvement in Biogenesis came as no surprise to those who were skeptical of his “exoneration” after testing positive for PEDs late in his MVP season. He received a 50-game suspension for the offense, which was ultimately overturned on appeal.

Braun’s lawyers argued the urine sample had been mishandled in the “chain of custody,” resulting in a positive test.The successful appeal was the first time a player had successfully appealed a suspension for violating MLB’s drug policy. Now, if you’re thinking that sounds like Braun got off on a technicality thanks to some fancy legal wrangling—you’re not alone. But hey, one man’s lucky break is another man’s absolute, unquestionable vindication.

In February 2012 Braun held a press conference high atop a soapbox at Brewers spring training in Phoenix. He proudly boasted his innocence to the world, lamenting the fact that his good “name [had] been dragged through the mud.” Oh the humanity!

Braun declared it a victory for “everybody who has ever been wrongly accused” and said that “the truth is always relevant and the truth prevailed.” He also called baseball’s drug testing system “fatally flawed” for good measure. A very bold stance for someone who was found not guilty because of a freak carrier error.

He played the victim as masterfully as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, stating: “I’ve lived this nightmare every day for the last four months. At the end of the day, the truth prevailed. I’m the victim of a process that completely broke down.”

Dramatic? Yes. Accurate? Uh, not entirely.

The real truth is that Braun was never exonerated or vindicated of anything. He was just lucky that someone else messed up along the way. But instead of counting his blessings and walking away, he decided to use it as an opportunity to lecture the league about “getting it right” in the future.

It didn’t take long for those words to come back and bite him. Apparently MLB got it right this time, because Braun, who has lived under a cloud of suspicion since his first positive test, didn’t even bother trying to deny the latest charges. Instead he issued the following statement:

”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.”

Basically he acknowledged his obvious guilt in the vaguest way possible. Braun apologized for “mistakes,” first pointing out that he had previously admitted to not being perfect—an extremely odd ‘told ya so’ moment for the fallen star.

He just can’t help himself though. Braun has been playing the victim for so long he seems to have convinced himself that the line of BS he’s been feeding to the world is actually true. Sure he issued an apology, but it was very carefully worded in an effort to keep some doubt out there among his most ardent supporters.

A group whose numbers have been dwindling rapidly over the last two years.

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