MLB: Breaking Down Ryan Braun's Statement on PEDs

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MLB: Breaking Down Ryan Braun's Statement on PEDs
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

In case you didn't know by now, Ryan Braun is really sorry. He's sorry to have let down Milwaukee Brewers' fans, Major League Baseball, his family and friends and of course his sponsors.

All that and more can be found in Braun's statement that the former MVP released yesterday. In a typical move by those who get caught cheating, Braun hid from the media and cameras by releasing a written statement likely by someone not named Ryan Braun.

The statement in itself is a joke to most people as Braun attempts to apologize, rationalize and make amends with those affected by his cheating ways.  It can almost be read as a sarcastic form of comic relief.

Let's look at how Braun starts off his statement:

Now that the initial MLB investigation is over, I want to apologize for my actions and provide a more specific account of what I did and why I deserved to be suspended.  I have no one to blame but myself. I know that over the last year and a half I made some serious mistakes, both in the information I failed to share during my arbitration hearing and the comments I made to the press afterwards.

In other words, now that I've been caught let me say I deserve to be suspended and want to apologize for my actions—but only now that the initial investigation is over, not in the past when I had the opportunity to come clean with the truth.

Also, his attempt at saying "I deserved to be suspended" and attempt to now place all the blame on himself is equivalent to a kid hitting another kid on the playground, only to say "It's okay, hit me back to make it even" when the other starts to cry.

I have disappointed the people closest to me – the ones who fought for me because they truly believed me all along. I kept the truth from everyone.  For a long time, I was in denial and convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong.

Oh, you mean like your Wisconsin buddy Aaron Rodgers betting his entire 2013 salary on Braun being innocent?

If you had to convince yourself that you weren't doing something wrong, odds are you were probably doing something wrong. If it goes against the rules set by the league you're playing in, it's wrong no matter the circumstances.

It is important that people understand that I did not share details of what happened with anyone until recently. My family, my teammates, the Brewers organization, my friends, agents, and advisers had no knowledge of these facts, and no one should be blamed but me. Those who put their necks out for me have been embarrassed by my behavior. I don’t have the words to express how sorry I am for that.

This is one of the few points I believe Braun is telling the truth. He probably is embarrassed about how this came back to smack him in the face in a moment of ultimate karma as well as those who defended the Brewers' slugger. It's one thing to soil your name but now others will be affected for their association with a known cheater.

Here is what happened.  During the latter part of the 2011 season, I was dealing with a nagging injury and I turned to products for a short period of time that I shouldn’t have used. The products were a cream and a lozenge which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation.  It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Finally Braun gets to the "what had happened was" moment of the statement. Only instead of giving actual details about his PED use, Braun gives a generalized account. A cream and a lozenge? What exactly was in this stuff? What banned substance did you actually use?

I deeply regret many of the things I said at the press conference after the arbitrator’s decision in February 2012. At that time, I still didn’t want to believe that I had used a banned substance. I think a combination of feeling self righteous and having a lot of unjustified anger led me to react the way I did. I felt wronged and attacked, but looking back now, I was the one who was wrong.  I am beyond embarrassed that I said what I thought I needed to say to defend my clouded vision of reality.  I am just starting the process of trying to understand why I responded the way I did, which I continue to regret. There is no excuse for any of this.

You felt self-righteous and had a lot of anger? I'm sure you were angry since you felt "victimized" by the system and how you were vindicated after winning the appeal. Notice that when Braun felt he was in the right he was all too happy to receive media attention.

Now that you're guilty, you hide behind a typed piece of paper? As Chris Carter loves to say, "C'mon man!"

Also, in his previous paragraph Braun states he knew he was taking things that he wasn't supposed to do. But in his next paragraph Braun states that he didn't think he was doing anything wrong. Didn't he learn in school about how peer pressure works and how it's not a viable excuse?

For too long during this process, I convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong. After my interview with MLB in late June of this year, I came to the realization that it was time to come to grips with the truth. I was never presented with baseball’s evidence against me, but I didn’t need to be, because I knew what I had done.  I realized the magnitude of my poor decisions and finally focused on dealing with the realities of-and the punishment for-my actions.

More of the "I didn't know what I was doing was wrong" shtick. And his "coming to grips with the truth" line? Sounds more like he knew the hammer was coming and began his PR rescue mission early.

I requested a second meeting with Baseball to acknowledge my violation of the drug policy and to engage in discussions about appropriate punishment for my actions. By coming forward when I did and waiving my right to appeal any sanctions that were going to be imposed, I knew I was making the correct decision and taking the first step in the right direction. It was important to me to begin my suspension immediately to minimize the burden on everyone I had so negatively affected- my teammates, the entire Brewers organization, the fans and all of MLB. There has been plenty of rumor and speculation about my situation, and I am aware that my admission may result in additional attacks and accusations from others.

Would Braun have been so forthcoming if his name hadn't been brought up in the Biogenesis scandal or if the Brewers were in playoff contention?

It's not so much his admission that fans are attacking him for, it's how he's handled the situation since the truth has come to light. Sports fans in America are very forgiving if athletes present us with the truth (or at least be convincing enough to make us believe they're being honest) but Braun fails to do much of that in his statement.

I love the great game of baseball and I am very sorry for any damage done to the game. I have privately expressed my apologies to Commissioner Selig and Rob Manfred of MLB and to Michael Weiner and his staff at the Players’ Association. I’m very grateful for the support I’ve received from them. I sincerely apologize to everybody involved in the arbitration process, including the collector, Dino Laurenzi, Jr. I feel terrible that I put my teammates in a position where they were asked some very difficult and uncomfortable questions. One of my primary goals is to make amends with them.

Laurenzi is the man Braun accused of working against Braun because he was a Cubs fan and an anti-Semite. In the same article Braun also reportedly attempted to reach out to some MLB veterans in an attempt to earn their support.

But I thought he was under the pretense he wasn't doing anything wrong? Why would he need to lobby for support and make those kind of accusations if he was innocent?

I understand it’s a blessing and a tremendous honor to play this game at the Major League level. I also understand the intensity of the disappointment from teammates, fans, and other players.  When it comes to both my actions and my words, I made some very serious mistakes and I can only ask for the forgiveness of everyone I let down.  I will never make the same errors again and  I intend to share the lessons I learned with others so they don’t repeat my mistakes. Moving forward, I want to be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem.

Braun now wants to be a team player and help clean up the PED issue in baseball. You know what Braun could've done to help clean up baseball? Not take PEDs in the first place.

Braun states that he'll never make the same mistakes again and at this point I'm not sure whether that means he won't make the mistake of getting caught or taking PEDs once he comes back to baseball.

I support baseball’s Joint Drug Treatment and Prevention Program and the importance of cleaning up the game.  What I did goes against everything I have always valued- achieving through hard work and dedication, and being honest both on and off the field.  I also understand that I will now have to work very, very hard to begin to earn back people’s trust and support. I am dedicated to making amends and to earning back the trust of my teammates, the fans, the entire Brewers’ organization, my sponsors, advisers and from MLB. I am hopeful that I can earn back the trust from those who I have disappointed and those who are willing to give me the opportunity.  I am deeply sorry for my actions, and I apologize to everyone who has been adversely affected by them.

Braun says he supports the program that only one year prior had championed against, attempting to say he'd been a victim and that the truth prevailed. If Braun really wanted to earn the trust and support of everyone he mentions, he should've held a media conference and fielded questions about his PED use.

Just take a look at how Andy Pettitte was caught years ago. He read from a pre-typed statement but at least faced the media to answer a few questions. Now look where Pettitte is, still pitching in the major leagues and has moved on from the PED scandal he found himself in.

All in all Braun completely failed to do what his statement was intended to do, which is help stop the bleeding from his PED scandal. The statement in itself seems more like a joke or half-hearted attempt to make amends rather than an actual apology. Braun immediately went to play the injury card that has been used too many times before.

There is a right way to go about repairing his image and Braun simply isn't doing that right now. He can still come back and be a player that is liked by both players and fans because, as mentioned before, America is willing to forgive and move on if the proper measures are taken.

Until then Braun can find his name next to Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds among others as the face of the PED problem in Major League Baseball.

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