The day after Ryan Braun’s 50-game suspension for a positive drug test was overturned on appeal, the Milwaukee Brewers’ left fielder went to work, reporting for spring training at the team’s Maryvale, Ariz., facility.
First on Braun’s list was a lengthy meeting with his teammates, followed by a press conference on the field. Braun began by thanking his teammates, athletes in other sports, the Brewers organization, fans, family and friends. “This is without a doubt the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced in my life,” Braun said, “and it’s made it that much more challenging that I’ve had to deal with it publicly.”
Braun said, “although at the end of the day the truth prevailed,” he was considering his legal options and could not speak to all the details. He addressed the media for about 20 minutes with his teammates lending their presence in his support. Afterward he took a few questions, but here are parts of his compelling statement:
“I truly view this challenge as an opportunity, just as I view every other challenge I’ve faced in my life as an opportunity. I tried to respect this process, even though the confidentiality of this process was breached early on. I tried to handle the entire situation with honor, with integrity, with class, with dignity and with professionalism because that’s who I am and how I’ve always lived my life.
“If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I’d be the first one to step up and say, ‘I did it.’ By no means, am I perfect,but if I’ve ever made any mistakes in my life, I’ve taken responsibility for my actions. I truly believe in my heart and I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point.
“I could have never ever envisioned being in this position today discussing this subject with you guys, but I truly believe everything in life happens for a reason. I learned a long time ago to stop questioning life. I believe that everything that’s thrown at us we’re able to handle and that there’s a reason for it. I’ve yet to figure out exactly what the reason for this is, but I don’t question that.
“I have always stood up for what is right. Today is about everybody who has ever been wrongly accused and everybody who’s ever had to stand up for what is actually right. Today is not just about me, not just about one player. It’s about all players. It’s about all current players, all future players and everybody who plays the game of baseball.”
Braun criticized “inaccurate, erroneous and fabricated” reports and said he has never had a medical issue or STD. “People continue to leak information that’s inaccurate.” Braun point ed out that he did not gain weight, speed or strength, although he was notified that he’d tested ”300 times” higher than anyone had. He described the test-taking process and questioned why the collector kept his sample 44 hours before mailing it to the testing facility in Montreal. Braun pointed out that multiple FedEx locations in the area were open until Saturday night and that the collector could have dropped the sample off after obtaining it Saturday afternoon.
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