As the two biggest sports stars in the state of Wisconsin, it's only natural that Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers have developed a friendship and business partnership in recent years. In the wake of Braun's suspension stemming from involvement with the Biogenesis clinic in Miami, though, it's unclear if their connection will endure.
Rodgers has been a fervent supporter of Braun as Braun has continually denied links to performance-enhancing drugs, but now that Braun has essentially admitted guilt by negotiating a 65-game suspension that will cause him to miss the remainder of the 2013 season, Rodgers feels as though he has been duped.
Everyone remembers this Rodgers response to a fan asking about Braun's PED use, right?
According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rodgers was surprised by the revelation and said that he had been "lied to" by Braun.
Aaron Rodgers on Braun. I'm just shocked. Disappointed. "— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) July 26, 2013
Rodgers: "It doesn't feel good to be lied to. "— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) July 26, 2013
Rodgers took things a step further, claiming that Braun looked him in the eye and was untruthful on multiple occasions.
Rodgers on Braun: "He looked me in the eye on multiple occassions and repeatedly denied these allegations and said they were not true."— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) July 26, 2013
Should Rodgers forgive Braun for lying to him?
In a lot of ways, Rodgers has been made a fool of throughout this process. Rodgers was so confident in Braun's innocence that he actually bet a year's salary that he was clean, according to Cindy Boren of the Washington Post. Rodgers hasn't publicly addressed that bet, but he certainly looks silly now that many of the facts have come out.
Silverstein asked Rodgers if he regretted the fervor he displayed in defending Braun publicly, and while Rodgers wasn't regretful about standing up for a friend, he wishes that he had been a bit more careful. Rodgers also left the door open for Braun to potentially earn back his trust, according to Silverstein.
Rodgers on defending Braun: "I don't regret backing a friend up. Obviously, in hindsight a more measured approach would be a better course..— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) July 26, 2013
"… of action. I definitely believe in forgiveness and moving forward. He has a tough task in front of him moving forward with his career."— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) July 26, 2013
Rodgers is clearly hurt by the entire situation. According to Paul Imig of Fox Sports Wisconsin, Rodgers was evasive when he was asked about the current state of his friendship with Braun.
It's tough to blame Rodgers because Braun's lack of credibility now hurts his credibility since he was associated with Braun. Rodgers has bigger fish to fry with the NFL season quickly approaching, but the Braun situation figures to haunt him for the foreseeable future.
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