In the court of public opinion, the truth will set you free.
That fact has finally sunk in for suspended Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, who is expected to come clean about his past use of performance-enhancing drugs—including that he did, in fact, use them during his MVP-winning season in 2011—according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.
Not only is Braun expected to admit to his past use, but he is expected to issue formal apologies to his teammates, peers and the fans—and to two people in particular, commissioner Bud Selig and Dino Laurenzi Jr.
If you remember back to Braun's first suspension in 2011, which he had successfully overturned by an arbitrator, Laurenzi Jr. was the drug testing sample collector whose life was turned upside down by Braun and his team of attorneys.
When Braun accepted a 65-game suspension from MLB last month and offered a cookie-cutter apology that clearly wasn't coming from the heart, Laurenzi Jr. was on the minds of a number of people, including former major league pitcher Mark Mulder and ESPN's Buster Olney:
The sample collector that Braun bashed and tore apart should get the rest of Braun's entire contract.— Mark Mulder (@markmulder20) July 22, 2013
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
Even former NFL offensive lineman and current ESPN personality Mark Schlereth got in on the action:
@SportsCenter I would like to see Ryan Braun apologize to the specimen collector whose name he ruined last year!!— mark schlereth (@markschlereth) July 22, 2013
Whether you think Braun owes the man an apology or not, it's the right thing to do.
It's the first step on the long road that Braun must travel to get some semblance of his reputation back.
Just ask Andy Pettitte, who sucked it up and faced the music only two days after his name was included on the Mitchell Report back in 2007:
Had Braun followed Pettitte's lead, had he admitted that yes, he made a mistake and used performance-enhancing drugs when his name was first associated with them, all would be forgiven by now—and his career would not forever be tarnished by a dark cloud.
Instead, we got this:
While nobody likes a liar, we are a forgiving society who gives second chances to those people who admit their mistakes.
We've forgiven Michael Vick for his role in a dog-fighting operation. We've forgiven Mike Tyson for decades of transgressions. And don't forget Bill Clinton, who stared into the eyes of every American and was willing to lie, but has now redeemed himself into one of this country's most beloved political figures.
We can forgive Ryan Braun as well.
But forgiveness comes with a price.
It won't be easy, and it won't come overnight, but Braun has a chance for redemption—and his timing couldn't be any better.
While Alex Rodriguez continues to defend himself against what MLB claims is an overwhelming amount of evidence that he has used performance enhancing drugs—including as recently as 2012, according to an earlier report from Nightengale—Braun has a chance to gain major points in the court of public opinion by being humble and contrite in his public admission.
Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. He needs to take his medicine like Pettitte did, no matter how painful it may be. He needs to go in depth about his past PED use, detailing when he took them, what he took and why he took them.
Only then, when the public hears the real Ryan Braun speak and can see the emotion on his face, can the healing process begin.
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