Ryan Braun has some nerve.
While he's yet to face reporters since his performance-enhancing-drug suspension in July stemming from involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, the Milwaukee Brewers star is personally calling season-ticket holders to apologize, according to CBS Sports' Mike Axisa.
This is nothing but a lame PR stunt by Braun and his representatives.
Braun released a statement on Aug. 22 apologizing for "mistakes" he made, saying, "I turned to products for a short period of time that I shouldn't have used." This came one month after MLB suspended him. Now, he's calling Brewers season-ticket holders to apologize as well.
But why hasn't he faced the media? Why isn't he ready to answer queries from people who are paid to ask the tough questions?
Braun continues to show no backbone and has yet to own up to everything in its entirety.
Let's look at the timeline of events surrounding Braun's PED controversy. Events through July 22 are via the New York Daily News.
|10/1/11||Braun is drug tested after the Brewers beat the Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the NLDS.|
|10/3/11||Drug sample collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. mails Braun's sample to Montreal WADA drug testing lab after storing sample in his basement for nearly 48 hours.|
|11/22/11||Braun named National League MVP.|
|12/10/11||An ESPN report says Braun tested positive for PEDs and faces a 50-game ban.|
|12/12/11||New York Daily News reports that Braun’s test results revealed “insanely high” levels of synthetic testosterone.|
|1/19/12||Braun appeals his 50-game suspension.|
|2/23/12||Braun wins appeal.|
|2/24/12||Braun calls MLB’s drug testing program “absolutely fatally flawed,” and implies chain of custody procedure was compromised by Laurenzi.|
|1/29/13||Miami New Times publishes alleged Biogenesis documents that link Braun and numerous other baseball players to the Biogenesis Clinic.|
|2/5/13||A Yahoo! Sports report includes alleged Biogenesis documents with Braun’s name listed next to monetary figures. Braun told Daily News that Bosch was used as a 'consultant' in his appeal.|
|7/22/13||Braun suspended for the rest of 2013 season (65 games), but doesn't give full admission of guilt.|
|8/18/13||ESPN reports Braun lobbyied other MLB players for support, claiming Laurenzi was a Cubs fan and was anti-semitic.|
|8/23/13||Braun writes in a written statement that he used performance-enhancing drugs.|
|9/5/13||Braun calls Brewers season-ticket holders to apologize.|
|???||Braun faces questions from the media.|
New York Daily News
The last one is the big one.
When is Braun going to face the media and answer their questions? Just about all of the other players suspended spoke to reporters about it, and it's time for Braun to do the same.
After more than a month of hiding, you would figure his PR team would have had enough time to prepare him for every question he'll face. But still nothing.
Until he does that, this is what he'll be remembered for:
Braun said he would handle the process with honor, integrity, class, dignity and professionalism—that it's who he is and who he's always been. He even said that if he had done it, he would be the first to step up and admit to his mistakes.
But other than a letter and a few phone calls, he's simply hidden from the situation.
The honorable thing to do would have been to answer all of those lingering questions right after he was suspended. The professional thing to do would have been to stand in front of the media the day he was suspended.
That has yet to happen.
Some people, however, have already forgiven him.
According to Chris Patterson and Matt Doyle of CBS 58 in Milwaukee, here's how one of Braun's calls to a season-ticket holder went down:
"Hey Pat this is Ryan Braun," (Pat) Guenther recalls. "Right then and there I knew it was his voice based on interviews I've seen on TV. I knew damn well it was his voice."
So he did what anyone in the service industry would do.
"I said what can I do for you? He said, I messed up, in a nutshell, I messed up. I just want to reach out and say I'm sorry. I cut him off right there. I said you know Ryan, I think you're an amazing athlete and this speaks volumes to your character to reach out to a small business owner like myself and let us know that you are going to do better."
Calling fans is generally thought to be a great move during a public-relations nightmare, so I do give Braun a little credit.
Does Ryan Braun owe it to baseball fans to face the media?
But he doesn't get off the hook until he talks about his transgressions in an open forum. A letter with no chance for questions afterwards and conversations with loyal Brewers fans aren't enough. They're going to love him regardless because he plays for their team.
Braun has a long way to go to gain back the trust of fans—and it's all going to start with facing questions from reporters.
Until he does, stunts like this show he's avoiding the truth as much as he did after the positive test came back. When he does face the gauntlet, that's when baseball can truly forgive him and move on.