Ryan Braun didn’t get a slap on the wrist for his involvement in the Biogenesis PED scandal that has rocked Major League Baseball. In fact, he’s getting a 65-game suspension and an image that will need some serious repair, as reported by Major League Baseball:
BREAKING: Ryan Braun suspended without pay for remainder of 2013 season for violations of Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.— MLB (@MLB) July 22, 2013
Braun is one of baseball’s preeminent sluggers, and as a result of his prowess with the bat, his name has often come up in performance-enhancing drug debates that have been rampant since a list of players potentially tied to Biogenesis was released.
The 29-year-old left fielder’s innocence was first called into question when his urine test results returned high levels of testosterone—results Braun asserted were the product of tampering. While he maintained his innocence, Braun is now singing a 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.
While Braun made the mistake so many professional athletes have made—namely, not owning up to his wrongdoings sooner—he’s taking the right steps to repair his image following his suspension. After all, he easily could have attempted to maintain his innocence and appeal the suspension as his name further gets dragged through the mud.
Braun isn’t out of the woods, however. He took a big step toward redemption by admitting his mistakes, but that won’t completely erase the problems he has caused along the way.
When Braun failed his initial urine test, the superstar slugger took the low road in suggesting the sample handler, Dino Laurenzi Jr., had tampered with his sample. As pointed out by ESPN’s Buster Olney and Pete Abraham of the The Boston Globe, Braun still owes Laurenzi a big apology:
Hopefully, Ryan Braun has reached out to collector Dino Laurenzi, Jr. and offered his apology for how he cast doubt re Laurenzi's integrity.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 22, 2013
That sample collector Braun essentially charged with tampering must feel awfully vindicated. Unless he's busy calling a lawyer— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) July 22, 2013
If Braun hopes to continue taking the right steps to repair his imagine, Laurenzi should be the first person he calls.
Todd Dybas of the Tacoma News Tribune expanded on that sentiment and offered another underlying issue to the entire debate:
In his spiral of deceit, Braun managed to not just lie throughout but also defamed and threatened others along the way.— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) July 22, 2013
Also not to be overlooked here is the byproduct of Braun's lies. He, like others in past, force continued doubt to be cast on everyone.— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) July 22, 2013
PED use in professional sports is a rampant issue that hasn’t subsided, despite years of stricter policies, more advanced testing and a greater general awareness of the issue. One of the biggest reasons for that is the unwillingness of professional athletes to admit they did anything wrong.
Do you think Ryan Braun will ever be able to repair his image?
Pettitte owned up to his wrongdoings and was genuine in his apologetic approach to making things right. In doing so, Pettitte returned to a pitching career, the validity of which is rarely called into question.
It’s too late for Braun to make such a quick turnaround, but the damage has been done. Assuming he avoids further issues with PED use in the future, his imagine can only improve should he take the right steps toward redemption.
Braun took the first of those steps Monday. Now he must focus on repairing the relationships he damaged and the trust he destroyed while holding firm in his sincerity for making a big mistake.