Sundae Scoop: Braun’s apology doesn’t measure up

This week we stray from the arena of Hoosier sports, as the Sundae Scoop may occasionally be wont to do.

What is it they say? You will be judged by the same measure you judge others.

If that’s the case, then the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun is coming up woefully short. Braun, who is now serving a suspension for use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), finally released a statement on Thursday night apologizing for his transgression.

Conveniently, he waited until the Brewers had finished their home series against St. Louis and were in the air to Cincinnati before releasing his statement.

But the fact it was merely a statement was telling enough. This from the same man who so vociferously proclaimed his innocence, dragging the carrier of his sample through the mud and blaming almost anyone and everyone but himself when his failed drug test first surfaced nearly two years ago — in a very public press conference to boot.

Seems to me if you can look into the cameras and accuse others of lying, slandering an otherwise good man’s name, then you should surely be able to do the same when you own up to those lies.

And the statement itself was interesting. I particularly enjoyed this segment: “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.”

In other words, ‘Since we’re 20 games out, I’ll just serve this suspension and get back on the field to keep making that $145.5 million.’

It hardly seems a fair punishment (failed drug test equals canceled contract?) or a heartfelt apology. What about the Arizona Diamondbacks team he helped beat in the 2011 playoffs? What about Matt Kemp, who lost out on the 2011 NL MVP?

There’s nothing Braun can do about the D-Backs, but forfeiting the MVP to Kemp might be a real step toward changing public perception.

As would going public and manning up instead of hiding behind a carefully crafted public relations piece. Until he does, Braun’s apology just doesn’t measure up.

17 comments

  1. Here here! The only thing more preposterous than that lame excuse for an apology is ARoid’s ridiculous stance that Dempster should “”play baseball the right way.” Seriously? Have either of these cheaters played the right way at any point in their careers? Ever? No respect for either of those clowns. Contracts should be voided along with the suspensions, and Braun should be held liable in civil court for his actions against the sample collector. To me, they’re the Bernie Madoff’s of baseball, and I hope they lose it all.

    I’ll step down off my soapbox now. Carry on.

  2. This is great…But is Roger Clemens or Mark McGwire any less innocent?

    Should any of them be anywhere closer to a baseball diamond than Pete Rose? I don’t think so.

    I heard an interesting piece on the radio not too long ago that argued how fans and players get more angry at the boost in performance from a hitter using PEDs because it so visibly shows up in measurable results(primarily the long ball)…It was argued that the PEDs can just as easily create extra dominance in pitcher but suspicions and conclusions of fooling with banned substances is tempered by the fact there isn’t the visual power of blast of the bat an d of ball clearing a fence. I tend to believe the substances are being abused at many levels/positions and across many sports.

    Why did it take so long to investigate Clemens? How convenient that the enforcement/testing/heat on many Yankees doesn’t arrive until the franchise players are approaching the twilight of their careers. Does MLB protect the big money ball clubs and only find their scapegoats when the damage to lineups and postseason play is minimal(the player does not have the “it factor” their days of prime)?

    I’m just curious…Seeing how I know nothing about these substances, nor have I read to much about investigation of usage in basketball, is it possible PEDs could help an NBA star’s stamina and explosiveness to the rim? Are NBA players tested regularly for the same substances the baseball players now labeled as having careers artificially enhanced and stat lines padded with cheating?

  3. Do PED’s boost or contribute to optimal mental performance? Could they help in taking an exam? If you can pick up a sizzling 100 mph fastball 2/10 a second faster, can we expect the faster firing of synapses in the mind to benefit a person’s speed in thinking during mental tasks? Could PEDs help a coach think faster while pacing or would the substances simply increase pacing efficiency/performance(faster and crisper turns while pacing)? Do they test coaches for PEDs?

  4. The terms PEDs covers a wide array of substances… While some certainly allow a person to add unnatural strength, the primary function of many of them is healing. I believe a few players have been caught and explained it away as un-prescribed Ritalin, which certainly helps mental acuity, and focus during test taking. So PEDs can help anyone, in any walk of life… Especially athletes like basketball players.

  5. Thanks Geoff. Do they test college athletes for these substances? Are there certain types of PEDs that are banned from usage in college basketball or the NBA?

    Found this story on PEDs from a former NFL athlete…He talks about using every substance under the sun..Pretty much states that he became involved with the substances long before his professional career and that the abuses were widespread amongst teammates in college football.

    Can we conclude that baseball is taking a much harder stance and the addiction/reliance to PEDs is far more prevalent than the highlighting of these high porfile baseball players and infecting all sports(probably starting in the early high school years)? Is it my false assumption, or do the drug policing polices used in the Olympics show a concern for the abuses far beyond what most bodies governing our high school, college, and professional sports?

    Can’t help but think of the cyclist, Lance Armstrong. “Lance Armstrong…The All-American (juiced-up) boy!”

    So…Questions. How do you stop it? Where do you stop it? How do you draw lines in cases of athletes using substances falling into the blurred borders of PEDs when it is prescribed by a doctor for ADHD? Are we just making scapegoats of these few high profile MLB players when, in actuality, these substances are being abused at all levels and areas of sports, abused at the prescription level by doctors in the hip pockets of pharmaceutical giants, and given no degree of consistent enforcement/regulation on a broader scope?

    I played high school sports in an era before many on here were born…As years passed by and stories began to slowly filter into the media the abuses of steroids, I began to wonder if some parents were giving their kids and “edge” and some of the stars my distant past were pumping substances into their bodies that could turn an 9th-grader into something closer a mature man.

    Sorry to ramble on this…Have we really done anything to truly stem the tide these substances over the many decades leading up to these recent examples of “All-American boys” in the headlines? Shouldn’t we take a hard look in the mirror to how, at the societal level, we’re pushing pills for everything? And who doesn’t go through a work day without five cups of coffee, three energy bars, and 64 ounces of 5-Hour Energy..? Who in the hell isn’t trying to get an edge and how do you stop the cultural drip and belief systems that what God has given is never going to be enough for the daily rhythm?

  6. Pretty sure the list of banned substances is basically uniform across all sports… It’s the collectively bargained testing policies that are different.

    I know that in the 90’s we were (very rarely) randomly drug tested by the NCAA, but it was primarily targeted at illegal drugs, not PEDs.

    While I’m sure that that stuff is off limits, I’m not sure what the NCAA testing procedures are like these days. It doesn’t seem to ever come up in the news though… Maybe because individual participants are too poor to afford the undetectable stuff, and too scared/smart to use the cheap stuff.

  7. Very good points H4H. These days you just can’t help but wonder who is on the juice, and who isn’t. I always believed that every gym has a guy who can get you this or that, or a high school student knows someone who can supply.

    I think many people don’t think long term. It’s all right now. It’s fun for awhile, but the fun runs out when your body falls apart. You will never see me with a 5 hour or energy drink. Those are bad for your heart.

    I don’t know the solution. Maybe we should educate kids harder on this issue in school. I think many kids feel pressure, and cheating seems easy, instead of hard work.

  8. Think long term? Why would these guys think long term? With top Major League players making $15 million per year and up, if you get away with taking PEDs for a couple of years, you’re set for life! And if you get caught, you still get a relative slap on the wrist. First offense, the penalty is what, a 60-game suspension? Big deal! You still get to come back and resume playing under the terms of that mega-contract you signed before you got caught. Just look at the future value of Braun’s contract after he serves his suspension. It’s still worth tens of millions of dollars and it is guaranteed. Given the money he’s going to make, do you really think he cares a lot about being despised by the media, his fellow players and the fans?

    Major League Baseball, with the help of the Players’ Union, has created this monster. First by being such idiots that they sign players to long-term guaranteed contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Then, they impose relatively minor punishment when they catch a player cheating. The incentive to cheat, by taking PEDs, is enormous, and it trumps the risks of getting caught by a long shot.

    You want to stop players from taking PEDs? Change the policy on penalties so that when a player gets caught cheating, he is banned for life and all his stats and records are erased from the major league record books forever, as if he never played. Or, if that is considered too harsh, make the contracts such that they include a clause that allows the team or league to unilaterally cancel the contract after a player is found guilty of cheating. With severe penalties, the problem would be greatly diminished or solved entirely. Otherwise, the authorities associated with MLB are just flapping their lips when they discuss this problem.

  9. Podunker-

    That’s a good post…But do you actually believe the PED substances aren’t being abused by far more than the high profile players that are being publicly vilified? My guess is that it’s everywhere. Be prepared to enforce it everywhere. How do you pay for widespread testing and enforcement at the high school and college levels? How about punishment for the distributors and developers that are producing things for kids to put in their bodies that could have long term detrimental health effects?

  10. HforH; I don’t think it is “everywhere”, but it is becoming more common. And that’s my point. If you want to protect children and begin to put a stop to PEDs in sports, you go after the big name, high profile cheaters. You make harsh examples out of them. If losing their career and millions upon millions of dollars, and being shamed in society does not prevent them from cheating, then one could argue that its hopeless. As for cracking down on PED cheaters at any level, if an athlete is caught cheating, the severity of the punishment must be increased. In college, the player loses his scholarship and is banned from playing in college again (at any level). In High School, the player is kicked off the team for the year. Second offense, the player is banned from ever playing again (I’ll cut the high school kids a little slack). For the pros, banned for life, records expunged and contract cancelled.

    No athletic governing body is ever going to eradicate PEDs 100%, but you can reduce it significantly. What we have right now is a joke. The MLB, NFL and other professional sports leagues act like they’re outraged when a braun or an A-Rod gets caught, but they’re really not doing anything to stop it.

    MLB made an example out of Pete Rose for gambling on baseball. We have not heard any stories about MLB players or managers betting on baseball since Rose was put through the shredder.

    A dear friend of my family was, many years ago, a Business School professor at St. Louis. He was blind. Little did his students know that the school had installed hidden cameras throughout his classroom. At the beginning of the year, the professor informed his students that he was blind, but that he did not think it would affect the quality of his teaching. He also warned them not to cheat during tests, and that if they tried to cheat, they’d get caught and they’d be expelled from the University. After the first mid-term, a TA watched the video tapes of the students in his classes. They found a total of 24 students that were blatantly cheating. Long story short, after the due process took its course, all 24 students were expelled from the school, never to be admitted again. Their tuition was not refunded. Our family friend continued to teach at that school for another 20 years, but he told is that no other student was ever caught attempting to cheat on one of his tests again.

  11. Harv, it’s not just about the PEDs for me. It’s been going on for years and is probably way more prevalent than most people ever imagined. (Why do you think the NFL keeps dragging its feet for so long on HGH testing?) Several of the fifteen or so suspensions handed down in the Biogenesis scandal were players I’d barely heard of, if at all. So we know it’s not just the superstars– they’re just the ones that grab the headlines.

    For me, the bigger problem are those putrid few that not only cheat, but display an almost pathological dishonesty and ruthless willingness to trash anyone they think will help get them off the hook once they’re caught. Braun was already busted once, but instead of owning up and trying to make amends, he did everything in his power to discredit the sample collector. He lied, then went so far as to try and gather support among fellow players by insinuating that since the collector was a Cubs fan and anti-Semite, he intentionally tainted the specimen. No doubt Braun would’ve called him an incestual rapist and pedophile if he thought it would help his cause. And did anybody buy ARoid’s dung-heap of an “admission” the first time around? You could look in his vacant soul at that press conference and tell he was a lying dog. Now he’s selling out his own teammates after it turns out that… SURPRISE… He’s still a cheat himself. What vile, pathetic, worthless human beings they are. That’s why I think those two, more than anyone, deserve to lose it all.

  12. Too bad they didn’t install hidden cameras for all the blind coaches at Penn State.

    It’s obviously not ethical to cheat on tests(you only cheat yourself), but I’m feeling a bit squeamish to installing hidden cameras as a means to do justice. Does this same teacher install hidden cameras in his home to make sure the wife isn’t fooling around in the kitchen with gardener while he awaits dinner at the dining table? I sometimes wonder if a preemptive strike of distrust is no lesser evil than the actual cheating. And if all these students were getting spectacular grades not seen with same consistency in comparison to past performance or performances in other classes, wouldn’t some red flags be immediately obvious? Why not just let another teacher or assistant professor sit in during test time if suspicions were arising?

    I’m pretty sure there’s ample evidence that Derrick Rose had someone take his SAT exam. I know it’s Calipari(the personable, well-spoken, white man that gets the free pass because he cares so much for his kids), but did we here anyone in the national media make Rose’s SAT cheating into much of a story? Rose doesn’t seem to be labeled as a cheater. He remains extremely marketable, makes oodles of dough doing Adidas commercials, and is treated by most Chicago fans as an upstanding great citizen for the game. How can it get more unethical than sending someone in your place to take your college entrance exam? I’m having trouble with why some are painted as having cheated themselves out of a decent college when they get a C- in a summer school class and others are allowed the free pass something far more unethical and left to be heroes of the NBA game. Simply because the evidence surfaced after college excused him any public distaste when he’s playing at the next level?

    I’m not seeing any consistency or equitable justice in our own public perceptions/opinions that frequently appear so very random when it comes to deciding whom we label as cheats and villains.

    We seem to play favorites in these witch hunts…Mark McGwire looked more pumped up than Popeye on PEDs. It was obvious the man was a walking medicine cabinet, but I don’t remember the whispers..I don’t remember the vilification once the drug usage was unveiled.

    I’d love more enforcements if they are applied equitably..But I don’t want more cameras and invasions of privacy when the true power players/fan favorites with big personalities/product endorsement goldmines don’t receive the same suspicious eye, equal justice, or damnation when caught.

    Cameras and tapping into emails…? Fine and dandy…But the problem arises when those at the controls and in the secret booths such powers behind the 2-way mirrors watching over are every move rarely get the cameras pointed back.

    How ethical are you in your own living room? Did mom and dad install cameras in the bedroom when you opened your first Playboy at 12-years-old? When does invasion of privacy serve more the pleasures in voyeurism found in the act of watching weakness the soul than in the suspected deed/crime itself..Isn’t distrust a terrible crime of weakness?

  13. correction:

    But the problem arises when those at the controls and in the secret booths such powers behind the 2-way mirrors watching over are every move rarely get the cameras pointed back.

    Snowden is a traitor but big brother with all his snooping technology will never sell us out?

  14. Don’t know how that happened..Here’s the corrected final paragraphs.

    But the problem arises when those protected through the powers of office in holding the controls of the secret lenses, licking their chops in the secret booths behind the 2-way mirrors, and watching over [our] every move, rarely get the cameras pointed back or the corresponding ears to the wall.

    Snowden is a traitor but big brother with all his snooping technology will never sell us out?

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