In February 2012, Ryan Braun stood before a microphone and vigorously defended his reputation, taking the grand position that “this isn’t about me. This is about everybody who has ever been wrongly accused.”
On Thursday, he let a carefully-crafted, 944-word statement do the talking for him as he serves a 65-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs and that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.
“Why would we believe what he says?” pitcher Homer Bailey said (via the Dayton Daily News). “Once a liar always a liar. If he wanted to lie to the fans and the media, I couldn’t care less. But when you lie to your teammates like Braun did, to your staff, to ownership, people who have backed you the whole way, now you’re in bad territory.”
Braun apologized for using a cream and a lozenge that contained a banned substance to speed his recovery from an injury and explained himself in his statement. “I felt wronged and attacked. But looking back now, I was the one who was wrong,” Braun said. “I am beyond embarrassed that I said what I thought I needed to say to defend my clouded vision of reality.”
Like Arizona Diamondbacks Manager Kirk Gibson, a lot of people want Braun to do what he did in the winter of 2012: stand up and apologize in person.
“It’s so set up. He needs to do a press conference,” ESPN analyst and former pitcher Mark Mulder said. “And I don’t think we’re ever going to see him do one, to be honest with you. … If he does a press conference and he’s asked about prior years or something, he’s not going to want to lie about that. There’s no reason to believe he hasn’t done this for an extended period of time, not just the end of 2011.
“I’m willing to bet we’re going to go into next spring training, he’s gonna be reinstated, he’s gonna say, ‘It’s in the past. I’m not answering any questions.’”
Perhaps. But he’ll have to work things out with his Milwaukee Brewers teammates first. Taking the suspension, was “a step in the right direction,” Brewers Manager Mark Attanasio told the New York Times last month. “But it’s one step. He’s got a lot of steps he needs to take.”
Another of those steps is making nice with fans. Like the fan who was forced to cover her “Fraud” jersey. He did that, naturally, with another emailed statement in which he wrote that “I understand I have abused your trust” and that there will be a “lengthy process to prove myself to you again.”