Almost 18 months ago, Ryan Braun proclaimed, “I am innocent and the truth is on our side” as he defended his reputation and good name after getting his 50-game suspension overturned on a legal technicality.
Among the people who backed him was his good friend and partner in Milwaukee restaurants, Aaron Rodgers. Throughout the initial suspension in late 2011 and Braun’s successful appeal, Rodgers was in Braun’s corner, even as Braun delivered the verbal equivalent of Rafael Palmiero’s wagging finger.
“MLB and cable sports tried to sully the reputation of an innocent man,” Rodgers tweeted at the time. “Picked the wrong guy to mess with. Truth will set u free #exonerated … When its guilty until proven innocent, all u need are the facts. #howsthecrowmlb #exonerated …
“I’ll let my buddy take it from here. All u idiots talking about technicality open up for some crow too. See if Espn gets pressured not to ..let the people hear the truth. Should get interesting. #exonerated #shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”
Rodgers didn’t stop there — and that was drawing attention Monday night after Braun accepted a 65-game suspension from baseball in the wake of the Biogenesis investigation. Back in February, Todd Sutton, a fan, tweeted Rodgers to ask if he really believed Braun didn’t use performance-enhancing drugs on Twitter.
“I’d put my salary next year on it,” Rodgers tweeted back, along with “#ponyup #exonerated.”
Oops. On Monday, Rodgers suddenly was in an awkward position. So far, Rodgers hasn’t talked about his buddy or about paying off that bet, which would make Sutton a very popular guy for over 4 million reasons. At the very minimum, the tweet guarantees that the first question Rodgers faces at training camp this week won’t be about football.
He probably isn’t going to see much of the humor in that tweet. Like a lot of Milwaukee Brewers and baseball fans, he probably is disappointed, given his December 2011 statement that he was “100 percent supporting [Braun].”
“I was very surprised the news came out the way it did. You would think that there would be some sort of confidentiality surrounding the situation because he is appealing it,” Rodgers said then (via Sports Radio Interviews). “… I’ve known Ryan for a while now and we’ve spent a lot of time hanging out. I’ve been in the locker room and I’ve seen him working out and stuff. It’s just ridiculous the allegations.
“I think as much as he probably can’t say a whole lot right now, just the fact that he was willing to take a test right after that and I don’t know exactly what all is out there but I just am trusting that my good friend has not been using anything illegal and I’m very confident that’s the case because I know how much he cares about the integrity of the game and wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that.”