Many speculated that Braun would use this night to make a dramatic spectacle about his positive test. But, he actually did just the opposite.
Braun handled the banquet with class and dignity, only making a small allusion to his positive test.
According to David Brown of Yahoo! Sports, Braun was very humble and gracious while accepting his award and seemed to deny the allegations that he cheated:
Braun seems genuinely hurt that anyone might think he would try to cheat the game. Now, regardless if the positive test is because of a mistake on his part, an error by the manufacturers of the product he used, or a flaw in the test, he's still probably going to have to serve that suspension. And it's only fair, because that's what the players signed up for to help mollify the anti-steroid crusaders.
So, even though Braun is still going to have to sit out, he did a good job of trying to salvage his image on Saturday night. His humility and grace were quite evident at the banquet and it's impossible not to feel good about allowing Braun to keep the award.
Braun has played his hand perfectly during this controversy, showing an appropriate amount of regret while also maintaining his innocence.
I don't know if he intentionally cheated or not, but after Saturday night's award ceremony, it's hard not to sympathize with the Milwaukee slugger.
His absence is going to hurt his team immensely during the start of the 2012 season, but if anyone can come in after 50 games and turn things around, it's Ryan Braun.
If his appeal doesn't result in a reduction of the suspension, he should continue to show class by serving it quietly and not making a huge deal about it.
That way, he maintains his image when he comes back and won't be viewed in the same lines as Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Manny Ramirez.
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