Statement from Ryan Braun
Now that the initial MLB investigation is over, I want to apologize for my actions and provide a more specific account of what I did and why I deserved to be suspended. I have no one to blame but myself. I know that over the last year and a half I made some serious mistakes, both in the information I failed to share during my arbitration hearing and the comments I made to the press afterwards.
I have disappointed the people closest to me – the ones who fought for me because they truly believed me all along. I kept the truth from everyone. For a long time, I was in denial and convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong.
It is important that people understand that I did not share details of what happened with anyone until recently. My family, my teammates, the Brewers organization, my friends, agents, and advisors had no knowledge of these facts, and no one should be blamed but me. Those who put their necks out for me have been embarrassed by my behavior. I don’t have the words to express how sorry I am for that.
Here is what happened. During the latter part of the 2011 season, I was dealing with a nagging injury and I turned to products for a short period of time that I shouldn’t have used. The products were a cream and a lozenge which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation. It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately.
I deeply regret many of the things I said at the press conference after the arbitrator’s decision in February 2012. At that time, I still didn’t want to believe that I had used a banned substance. I think a combination of feeling self righteous and having a lot of unjustified anger led me to react the way I did. I felt wronged and attacked, but looking back now, I was the one who was wrong. I am beyond embarrassed that I said what I thought I needed to say to defend my clouded vision of reality. I am just starting the process of trying to understand why I responded the way I did, which I continue to regret. There is no excuse for any of this.
For too long during this process, I convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong. After my interview with MLB in late June of this year, I came to the realization that it was time to come to grips with the truth. I was never presented with baseball’s evidence against me, but I didn’t need to be, because I knew what I had done. I realized the magnitude of my poor decisions and finally focused on dealing with the realities of-and the punishment for-my actions.
I requested a second meeting with Baseball to acknowledge my violation of the drug policy and to engage in discussions about appropriate punishment for my actions. By coming forward when I did and waiving my right to appeal any sanctions that were going to be imposed, I knew I was making the correct decision and taking the first step in the right direction. 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. There has been plenty of rumor and speculation about my situation, and I am aware that my admission may result in additional attacks and accusations from others.
I love the great game of baseball and I am very sorry for any damage done to the game. I have privately expressed my apologies to Commissioner Selig and Rob Manfred of MLB and to Michael Weiner and his staff at the Players’ Association. I’m very grateful for the support I’ve received from them. I sincerely apologize to everybody involved in the arbitration process, including the collector, Dino Laurenzi, Jr. I feel terrible that I put my teammates in a position where they were asked some very difficult and uncomfortable questions. One of my primary goals is to make amends with them.
I understand it’s a blessing and a tremendous honor to play this game at the Major League level. I also understand the intensity of the disappointment from teammates, fans, and other players. When it comes to both my actions and my words, I made some very serious mistakes and I can only ask for the forgiveness of everyone I let down. I will never make the same errors again and I intend to share the lessons I learned with others so they don’t repeat my mistakes. Moving forward, I want to be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem.
I support baseball’s Joint Drug Treatment and Prevention Program and the importance of cleaning up the game. What I did goes against everything I have always valued- achieving through hard work and dedication, and being honest both on and off the field. I also understand that I will now have to work very, very hard to begin to earn back people’s trust and support. I am dedicated to making amends and to earning back the trust of my teammates, the fans, the entire Brewers’ organization, my sponsors, advisors and from MLB. I am hopeful that I can earn back the trust from those who I have disappointed and those who are willing to give me the opportunity. I am deeply sorry for my actions, and I apologize to everyone who has been adversely affected by them.
Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig made the following statement today regarding the discipline issued to players in relation to Major League Baseball’s Biogenesis investigation:
“Major League Baseball has worked diligently with the Players Association for more than a decade to make our Joint Drug Program the best in all of professional sports. I am proud of the comprehensive nature of our efforts – not only with regard to random testing, groundbreaking blood testing for human Growth Hormone and one of the most significant longitudinal profiling programs in the world, but also our investigative capabilities, which proved vital to the Biogenesis case. Upon learning that players were linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, we vigorously pursued evidence that linked those individuals to violations of our Program. We conducted a thorough, aggressive investigation guided by facts so that we could justly enforce our rules.
“Despite the challenges this situation has created during a great season on the field, we pursued this matter because it was not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do. For weeks, I have noted the many players throughout the game who have strongly voiced their support on this issue, and I thank them for it. I appreciate the unwavering support of our owners and club personnel, who share my ardent desire to address this situation appropriately. I am also grateful to the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society and our club physicians, who were instrumental in the banning of amphetamines and whose expertise remains invaluable to me. As an institution, we have made unprecedented strides together.
“It is important to point out that 16,000 total urine and blood tests were conducted on players worldwide under MLB Drug Programs in 2012. With the important additions of the hGH testing and longitudinal profiling this season, we are more confident than ever in the effectiveness of the testing program. Those players who have violated the Program have created scrutiny for the vast majority of our players, who play the game the right way.
“This case resoundingly illustrates that the strength of our Program is not limited only to testing. We continue to attack this issue on every front – from science and research, to education and awareness, to fact-finding and investigative skills. Major League Baseball is proud of the enormous progress we have made, and we look forward to working with the players to make the penalties for violations of the Drug Program even more stringent and a stronger deterrent.
“As a social institution with enormous social responsibilities, Baseball must do everything it can to maintain integrity, fairness and a level playing field. We are committed to working together with players to reiterate that performance-enhancing drugs will not be tolerated in our game.”
Today, Major League Baseball will release the rest of the names on their list of suspensions of players having involvement with the infamous Biogenesis “wellness” clinic late of Miami, Florida. Well, the names are already out.
I guess I’m relieved, even though I’m not surprised, to be able to tell you that there are no other members of the Milwaukee Brewers organization among those names listed.
Of course these announcements do come on the heels of Brewers All-Star outfielder Ryan Braun’s acceptance of a 65-game suspension; the count being what remained of the 2013 regular season at the time. Braun’s suspension, complete with tacit admission of and acceptance of punishment for some “mistakes”, was seen as a major turning point with what would become the fallout of this investigation. If Braun appealed others could certainly follow in his wake. That Braun decided to put this behind him from at least the standpoint of league anger over not originally “getting” their man likely directly contributed to many players just realizing that biting the bullet now could be the best thing for them too.
Interestingly enough though is that players mentioned in Tony Bosch’s records who have already served a regular old 50-game suspension for a JDA violation were not suspended again. They reportedly include Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colón, Yasmani Grandal. Makes one wonder…
The other report I found amusing was the one where A-Rod apparently feels he deserves fewer games than Braun.
Regardless, here then is the list of names and their associated length of suspension for all those suspended as a result of the Biogenesis mess.
Major League Players
Álex Rodríguez – 211 games (rest of 2013 season effective 8/8/13, pending appeal)
Braun – 65 games (rest of 2013 season)
Antonio Bastardo – 50 games
Everth Cabrera – 50 games
Francisco Cervelli – 50 games
Nelson Cruz – 50 games
Sergio Escalona – 50 games
Jesús Montero – 50 games
Jhonny Peralta – 50 games
Jordany Valdespin – 50 games
And non-major leaguers…
Fautino de los Sántos (briefly a Brewers farmhand after being acquired in trade for George Kottaras in 2012)
Oh kay sew…
In case you’ve been without access to information for the past 48 hours or so, the Brewers’ Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the season prior to Monday night’s game against the San Diego Padres.
I couldn’t comment on it right away because I was at the visitation (and then funeral on Tuesday) of my father-in-law. Many of you have been very kind in your words regarding that situation and I appreciate you. I got home on Tuesday evening and posted a few words on Twitter finally then. What I said, in paragraph form was this:
I’m still digesting the Ryan Braun news in as much as I have a lot of things read. A more fully thought out take will be on the blog. TBS, three quick points: 1) No hypocritical baseball writer gets to tell me how I should feel. 2) Come Feb ’14, Ryan Braun is eligible to help the Brewers win baseball games which is the reason we’re all fans of the team. Therefore, I’ll support his efforts to that end. And 3) All I ever asked for was for Braun to get the benefit of the doubt. We know Braun was going to be suspended as a result of this investigation, but there is still a LOT we don’t know, most of which matters little if at all. Braun accepted a suspension, IMO, for a handful of reasons. I’ll get into all of those in the blog post.
- MLB felt that they had enough information gained from the testimony of Biogenesis employees to suspend Braun
- MLB felt that any suspension levied would hold up to an appeal
- The 2013 season is a lost one for the Brewers (at least in terms of playoff contention)
- Braun didn’t want this to linger into the 2014 season when the Brewers could once again potentially compete
- He was as worn out by all of this as he said he was in his statement
- His thumb injury won’t heal without rest anyway and if he might have lost these games to the disabled list anyway, then the games were going to be potentially lost regardless
- Games lost in 2014 cost more salary than games lost in 2013
- The off-season can be a fresh start in some ways for Braun and the Brewers
And now in a “stream of consciousness” in dialogue style of writing, I’ll expound more on all of those bullet points.
This is basically a best-case scenario for Braun and the Brewers, outside of his never have been entangled in all of this to begin with, of course. Braun can let his hand heal properly. Braun can enter 2014 completely healthy and ready to contribute to winning baseball games. Braun won’t have to deal with overabundant fans booing him on the road during a season known to be lost.
The Brewers will get their extremely talented baseball player back for a full season of contribution. The Brewers will have plenty of time to develop marketing strategies and other necessary things from a business perspective as they relate to and include Ryan Braun. (Would anyone be surprised if the media guide featured Segura and Gomez on the cover next spring?) The Brewer brass also have plenty of time to decide how they want to publicly deal with the scenario as it has currently presented itself.
Prinicpal owner Mark Attanasio has already stated that he forgives Braun despite his disappointment. Doug Melvin has stated that he’s glad that at least the ballclub can move forward with playing out the 2013 season. Teammates have been weighing in as well (I’m working on compiling a lot of that, just to make it available.) and eventually Braun himself will again speak on this subject. It might not be this month. It might not be this season. It might not be this year. But Ryan Braun will once again address the media and field some questions. It’ll happen.
But between now and whenever then is, we’re left to our own devices. We can speculate, gesticulate, or obfuscate. We can whine, cry, piss, and moan about how “wronged” we were or how “evil” Braun is or how much he owes apologies to every one he’s ever met. We can stand up and shout from the rooftops about game cheating, gummibear eating, and Diamondbacks beating. We can tell everyone how morally righteous we are and how we can’t believe that this could happen. We can scream “abominable”, “unfathomable”, “unthinkable” and stump like we’re somehow better than any other flawed and imperfect human being. We can click our keyboard keys and speak on traditional media airwaves and post on social media. We can let everyone know of our indignation and exasperation.
Maybe we can come out to Miller Park and enjoy the best place to be for six months every year. Maybe we can support the Milwaukee Brewers because, BREAKING NEWS, the active roster has 25 men on it, and the organization has over 150 players in it, all of whom aren’t the current subject of your righteous umbrage. Maybe we can use this as a reminder that the name on the front of the jersey means more than the name on the back. Maybe we can just flat out continue to love the game that we’re already fanatics of.
I don’t want to get into the multiple and independent studies about how the effects of PED use are neglible in the sport of baseball. I don’t want to get into the argument that Ryan Braun never actually publicly admitted to anything other than making some “mistakes” and remind you of the old adage which states “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Instead, for now and until something changes, I’ll watch this game I love, support the players in the uniforms (as varied as the versions are) which mean they play for the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, and just appreciate the game of baseball.
After all, Everth Cabrera is about to lead off the game I’m at for the San Diego Padres. You know what? He’s on a list from Biogenesis too. You know what else? It honestly doesn’t really bother me all that much. He’s playing and Braun isn’t. Many players are playing right now while Braun serves a suspension with some agreed upon terms. I’m not self-righteous enough or pompous enough or sanctimonious enough to the point where I’ll consider myself “better” than these mortal men who may or may not have made some mistakes.
Oh, and one other thing, in absolutely no way am I going to allow a pack of hyenas to dictate my feelings and thoughts about a subject that I am more than capable of determining those things about for myself. If someone feels that they were personally wronged so strongly because either a player cheated or more so because they were lied to and their outlet for that burning rage is to author columns about it…well, that’s on them, I guess.
I must include one tweet from someone who sums up this part of my post perfectly.
I hate thinking people cheated more than I hate actual cheating & by the widest margin of anyone. I have done it. I am king of the internet.
— Zachary Levine (@zacharylevine) July 24, 2013
I’m not really sure how well all that flows, but it’s there for your consumption.
“As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.”
Ryan Braun was swarmed by the media at Miller Park following tonight’s 4-3, extra innings victory over the white-hot Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night at Miller Park. But it wasn’t because Braun scored the game-winning run or drove that run in. It wasn’t because Braun secured a victory with a stellar defensive play in left field.
No, instead the media descended on the corner locker of Milwaukee’s slugger and resident superstar because people just can’t let things go. If you haven’t read the ESPN article, it’s linked later in the piece, but for now let me say that ESPN has learned that the Biogenesis situation hasn’t gone anywhere just yet.
Here is what Braun had to say (personally transcribed off of the FSWisconsin airing) before I give you my thoughts.
“I addressed it in Spring Training. I will not make any further statements about it. The truth has not changed. I don’t know the specifics of the story that came out today but I’ve already addressed it. I’ve already commented on it and I’ll say nothing more about it. I hope that you guys can respect that as I said in Spring Training. Thanks.”
“Other than that, (I’m) glad we won. Happy to answer questions about the game or anything else.”
He was asked if this was on his mind during the game.
“No, of course not. I’ve dealt with this for two years. I’ve dealt with it off and on for the last year and half, I guess. I’m pretty good at avoiding distractions.”
Asked whether he knew about the article while he was on the field tonight:
“I found out afterward. Our PR department made me aware, but I haven’t read the story or heard any of the specifics about it but they told me after the game.”
Asked how he stays mentally tough throughout all of these off-the-field distractions:
“We all deal with challenges in life. For all of us as baseball players, there’s distractions whether it’s your family situation, relationship situations, there’s all kinds of things that come up throughout the course of the season and for all of us we have a job to do regardless of what those distractions are. Obviously this hasn’t been fun, it’s not easy, it’s not something I enjoy but regardless I have a job to do and I do my best to do that job every day.”
Braun was asked about the continued fan support he receives:
“I’ve always appreciated everybody’s support. It’s something that means a lot to me and as I’ve said many times, when you deal with adversity you find out who’s really in your corner. Certainly I appreciate everybody’s support.”
So there you have them. Ryan Braun’s comments after the game about the latest in “journalism“ from ESPN’s Outside The Lines.
Now for what I’m sure is the real reason you clicked, my thoughts.
If you haven’t read the OTL article, it basically states that MLB “will seek to suspend” somewhere around 20 players in connection with the Biogenesis investigation. And their key witness? Apparently it’s Tony Bosch, the same guy who owned the shuttered clinic, has claimed to not know anything about PEDs, and has already publicly corroborated Braun’s assertion that the only connection he had with anything related to Braun was contact to Braun’s attorneys (never Braun directly) for the purposes of consultation while preparing their successful arbitration appeal in 2012.
Bosch has been facing legal pressure and all of a sudden decides to cooperate with MLB? Furthermore, despite reports of his eventual cooperation, Bosch hasn’t yet met with MLB investigators. That right, ESPN, you have no idea about which players Bosch supposedly “will meet with MLB officials in New York Friday to begin sharing information and materials.”
Bosch is “expected to meet with lawyers and investigators for several days.” Then the article says that ” The announcement of suspensions could follow within two weeks.”
Here’s the rub about that. Unless they’re suspending them for something other than a violation of the JDA, no announcements will be made by MLB until after the appeals process has been worked through for each of the players MLB seeks to suspend. And for crying out loud, if it took over four months for Braun’s appeal to be heard and decided when he was apparently the only player going through the same at the time, during the off-season, when people’s schedules are free…….
Yeah, this is going to take a while.
Do I think Braun is innocent? Do I think that anything has developed in this case to change minds? I’ve answered those questions before and my answers have not changed.
Could Braun be suspended? I suppose he could be, but it won’t be without a ridiculous sense of aggrandizement on the part of MLB and a furious defense of all involved by the Major League Baseball Players Association lawyers.
They, meaning MLB, are so concerned with how this looks rather than actually solving the problem. They want to look tough rather that act wisely. They want to save face and fricassee their own product instead of getting something right regarding PEDs in their game.
But without getting too long-winded, let’s just keep in mind two key things:
- The burden of proof is still the accuser’s and in that MLB might find itself lacking. One man’s sworn statement who only agreed to talk when he was put under extreme duress, even when coupled with documents that had to be purchased from someone who is supposedly a former Biogenesis employee, don’t hold up under legal challenge.
- Nothing has truly changed in this situation. By that I mean that there hasn’t been new evidence. There haven’t been new names. There really hasn’t been a change in what MLB has been trying to accomplish either. They’ve been wanting to suspend these players for a while now and haven’t been able to accomplish it. Is Bosch enough to at least file the suspensions? We’ll see, but it certainly doesn’t seem like it’s enough of an addition to their case to have anything stick.
I love the Brewers and I love the game of baseball but I certainly am nonplussed by the governing entity thereof.
It’s just another round of stuff to sift through and for the media to dissect until they’re blue in the face.
Bad news, h8rz.
In a recent New York Daily News article, it was reported that the former owner of the now-defunct Biogenesis Wellness Clinic, Anthony Bosch, “backed up” the assertion of Ryan Braun from earlier this year.
That assertion was that the reason Braun’s name appeared in records of the clinic was simply and only because Braun’s legal team reached out to Bosch for consultation while preparing their successful appeal — through arbitration — of a suspension.
In an interview reported by ESPN Monday night, Bosch is quoted as saying:
“I just answered a few questions from his legal team, not from Braun or any other ballplayer.”
Certainly sounds like everything lines up with what Ryan Braun had to say about it. You remember, that entirely plausible explanation that the Brewers All-Star gave? The one that people who already didn’t believe Braun just dismissed with a hand wave and “isn’t that just perfectly convenient” diatribes?
Yeah, this one here.
So can we all return to giving Ryan Braun the benefit of the doubt which the system in place is supposed to allow him? He won his appeal and his explanation of his presence in Biogenesis documentation lines up.
Or isn’t that enough for you?