Why does Ryan Braun’s name come to mind amid the uproar caused by Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte’s night-out behavior in Brazil last week? Baseball fans know. The Ryan who plays for the Milwaukee Brewers, like the one who earned a gold medal at the Games, saddened the way we feel about ourselves.
Although Lochte’s drunken rampage, which he tried to blame on Brazilian police, made his country look bad before the world, Braun’s behavior in 2012 hit closer to home. His starring role with the Brewers made him a hero, not only in Milwaukee, but among fans across the Baseball universe. Braun’s failed attempt to conceal his illegal-drug usage was the lesser of his self-betrayals. What was unforgivable – and remains so with those of us who remember what happened – was his attempt to blame an innocent bystander for his exposure as a cheat. Jeff Passan, of Yahoo Sports, minced no words three years ago in telling the story:
“The call went to Major League Baseball…Ryan Braun was ready to deal. He wasn’t going to admit everything. Truth is, he didn’t really admit anything – no details about all the performance-enhancing drugs the league knew he had used, no straightforward admissions of guilt. He just wanted to end this 19-month charade, and if that meant bargaining for a suspension, so he would.
“Of the many things Ryan Braun is – a liar nonpareil, a serial doper, a raging narcissist – he is, above all, a self-preservationist. Never did he show that instinct more than when he publicly impugned Dino Laurenzi Jr., the innocent man who happened to collect a vial of Braun’s urine that started baseball down the sordid, tortuous path that found its first measure of closure Monday when Braun accepted a suspension (of): 65 games….What we know of Braun today is no different than what we knew of him before: He is a cockroach.”
Braun told reporters after the Laurenzi storm broke that he apologized to the man he had accused. “We’ve had some really good conversation,” Braun said. “We’ve made amends.”
Similarly, Lochte has apologized for his “behavior”, without admitting that he lied to – and about – local police who intervened. A Brazilian sports commentator summed up the situation without calling Lochte a cockroach. “He’s still portraying himself as a victim,” the commentator said. “So much arrogance.”
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More on Ryan B: The Brewers say they would be receptive to a trade now for Braun. He is batting .317, with 22 HRs in 103 games. He is 32, and signed through 2020 at $21 million per, which means he’ll probably stay put.
Wild Card Match-Ups (as of today): AL – Baltimore-Boston; NL – Cardinals – Giants
Notable Late Monday Scores: Seattle 7, Yankees 5; Cleveland 1, Oakland 0
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