I don’t have a problem with Alex Rodriguez for using performance-enhancing drugs. Sure, he cheated the rules put in place by Major League Baseball and his own union, but he didn’t hurt me.
Overall, I don’t have a problem with PED users and I’m certainly not losing sleep over the Steroid Era. I’m not a player on the bubble of either playing in the majors or the minors, who lost out on a job to Antonio Bastardo like Dan Meyer did, and I’m not some journeyman pitcher who gave up a bomb to an admitted PED user and was sent down and never made it back to the majors.
No one is sure of the exact impact and benefits of PEDs, how much they improve or inflate stats and if they are even worth risk. Yes, we hear about the doubles hitters that became home run hitters, oft-injured players who suddenly were indestructible and pitchers whose arms felt better than ever and found a few extra MPH on their fastball, but for the most part these stories we hear are about players with household names and stars who used some drug or supplement to try get better when they were already the best. But those aren’t all the cases. They are just the ones we hear about. What about all the players who used PEDs and didn’t make millions of dollars as a result or didn’t the make the majors at all? Why don’t we hate the guy (who definitely exists) that used PEDs because he was stuck in Double-A, got a cup of coffee in Triple-A, but has been watching his career pass him by in the Independent League? What about the guy who was never going to make the majors without PEDs, used them and still never made the majors? Why don’t we hate him? Probably because we don’t know about him.
If MLB’s “huge” investigation this past year landed us A-Rod (a previously known PED user), Ryan Braun (another previously known PED user), Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Jesus Montero, Francisco Cervelli, Antonio Bastardo, Jordany Valdespin, three minor leaguers and two no-name free agents then I would think there are way more of those last two examples I gave than everyday major leaguers who are using PEDs to try to get to The Show. We just don’t know about them and likely never will.
Since A-Rod’s 211-game suspension and return to the Yankees, he has become the face of PEDs and treated like the person responsible for creating and selling banned substances rather than one of hundreds or even thousands of players that have used them. The New York Daily News has treated A-Rod (who is a baseball player and plays a sport professionally) worse than any politician (someone who heavily impacts and controls things in real life and not on a baseball field) involved in a real scandal. They have an entire section of their sports page on their site dedicated to him called “The A-Rod Scandal Rewind.”
The normal booing for A-Rod on the road has grown tenfold and players around the league have spoken out against him, while forgetting to mention Cruz or Peralta. Jason Giambi is still hitting home runs for the Indians at age 42 and is viewed as a great guy and teammate, awesome clubhouse presence and an excellent choice to be a future manager in the league. I guess when he admitted his PED use in 2007 by saying, “I was wrong for doing that stuff,” it erased his PED use from his record.
Last Sunday, Ryan Dempster decided he would throw fastballs at A-Rod until he finally hit him and some people thought this was justified because “Hey, it’s A-Rod! Eff him!” But did Dempster also try to pick a fight with David Ortiz in the clubhouse for his past PED use? Did he tie Ortiz’s clothes together and put them in the shower? Why didn’t he throw at Ortiz during spring training in Fort Myers during live batting practice? Oh, that’s right, Ortiz never used PEDs because he said he didn’t at a press conference in 2009 even though he was on the same leaked list that A-Rod was a part of. So we’ll just pretend like that never happened the way Fenway Park did last weekend.
Why is MLB viewed differently than the NFL, NHL or NBA? Why is A-Rod the worst person in the world, but when Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller returns in Week 7 no one will remember he was suspended for six games for a failed PED test? Everyone cares about A-Rod and no one cares about Miller because baseball records are “sacred” and baseball beat writers and reporters feel like they’re responsible for protecting these records. And it’s baseball reporters who think players personally lie and cheat them when they use PEDs because they think their daily interactions in the clubhouse are real and anything more than them watching other men get dressed while they hold microphones in their faces. It’s because of these writers and reporters that we are made to believe that A-Rod is a terrible person for using PEDs and lying to people he’s doesn’t know, has never met and doesn’t care about when really there are 93 other reasons to not like A-Rod over the last 10 years.
I have my reasons for liking and disliking A-Rod dating back to his arrival in New York in 2004 and for having a love-hate relationship with him ever since the Yankees traded Alfonso Soriano for him. But I’m not upset with A-Rod for his PED use because I don’t feel like he lied to me, mainly because I don’t know him and I’m certainly not his friend (at least I don’t think), or a relative (at least I don’t think) or a teammate.
The same goes for someone like Ryan Braun. The only attachment I have ever had to the Brewers in my life was watching the 18 starts CC Sabathia made for them at the end of the 2008 season and hoping that his left arm didn’t fall off or explode before the Yankees could sign him that offseason. Other than that, the only time I watch the Brewers is if they are playing the Yankees, playing a team I need to lose to help the Yankees, are in the playoffs or part of a parlay. I don’t feel lied to or cheated by Ryan Braun since he is part of the Brewers, plays in the NL Central and really doesn’t impact the Yankees at all. And I don’t dislike him because he used a supplement or supplements that a group of people deemed illegal or unfair. I don’t like him for the way he has handled getting caught cheating the system and continues to handle it.
Even as Braun comes out looking worse and worse in the Biogenesis scandal, it’s still A-Rod that everyone wants to talk about. But hopefully, Braun’s fake apology statement that he released on Thursday will get people to start recognizing that Braun deserves the treatment A-Rod has been given.
Let’s go through Ryan Braun’s “apology” and see what he really said because he certainly didn’t say he was sorry.
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’m glad there’s no one else to blame for YOUR use of performance-enhancing drugs other than YOURSELF. I can’t wait to see how specific you get.
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.
“Mistake” is a good word to use when you don’t want to say exactly what you did because you know how bad it was. So let’s get the Mistake Counter going. Mistake Counter: 1.
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.
So far we know that Ryan Braun is responsible for Ryan Braun using PEDs, Ryan Braun is very good at keeping secrets and that if Ryan Braun thinks something is fine then it’s fine.
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.
History shows that Ryan Braun is a liar and when you’re pegged as a liar, especially one who lies to the public, you’re branded for life as a liar. And that’s why I find it hard to believe that no one, including Braun’s family, his teammates, the Brewers, his friends, his agents or advisors knew that he was using PEDs.
Brian “Smash” Williams used PEDs in Friday Night Lights and only his mom and Coach Taylor found out and having only them find out was over the top even for a TV show trying to create a storyline. You’re telling me that Braun’s real-life PED use was a better kept secret than Smash Williams’ TV PED use? Get the eff out of here.
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.
Finally some truth. You “don’t have the words to express how sorry you are” is the only truthful thing you have said so far since you still haven’t said you’re sorry.
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.
A cream! It’s always a cream! No PED user who comes clean ever says, “I had a trainer inject me and I took a bunch of pills.” It’s always “a cream” that was used. So now we’re supposed to visualize Braun rubbing Vaseline on his leg and think “Oh, that’s not a big deal!”
But this time, not only was it “a cream,” it was also “a lozenge!” The only time I have ever heard the term “lozenge” used was when a school nurse would try to be fancy when someone had a sore throat and would offer a “lozenge” rather than a “cough drop.” So either Braun is trying to say he popped pills or he used lotion and Halls Triple Soothing Action Honey-Lemon Cough Drops to cheat the game?
It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately.
This is what I don’t get about PED users. If you get caught, just admit it. The groundwork has already been laid out for you by past cheaters and there is a big enough sample size now to know that if you cheat the game and admit it immediately, you will be forgiven.
The first night A-Rod came back this season, Andy Pettitte faced Jose Quintana in Chicago. The entire country was focused on A-Rod and his return to the league and no one cared to mention, because everyone likely forgot, that both starting pitchers in the game were former PED users. Why? Because Andy Pettitte admitted to using PEDs. So instead of being Andy “HGH” Pettitte, he’s still Andy “All-Time Winningest Postseason Pitcher” Pettitte. (As for Quintana, no one really cares that he used PEDs.)
Mistake Counter: 3.
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.
Is Ryan Braun trying to turn lying about PED use into the same type of thing as being a sex addict? He’s “just staring the process of trying to understand he responded the way he did?” You responded the way you did because you’re a scummy person, who didn’t care about the lives of others, mainly Dino Laurenzi Jr. (who reports say Braun tried to say was an anti-Semitic Cubs fan), and all you cared about was clearing your name at all costs even if it ruined the names of others.
There’s no reason or process for figuring out why you responded the way you did the same way there isn’t a process for people like Tiger Woods, Michael Douglas and Steve Phillips to figure out why they cheated on their on wives. You’re scum, that’s why.
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.
There’s a 100 percent chance Braun has seen the evidence presented against him.
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.
Did you just pat yourself on the back for admitting to cheating after lying about it before and damaging Dino Laurenzi Jr.’s reputation? Yes, yes you did. And are you ever going to mention Dino Laurenzi Jr. by name or are we just going to pretend like the time you questioned his integrity, professionalism and reputation never happened?
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 haven’t hard any rumors or speculation about your situation because everyone is so focused on A-Rod because he is the only player that has ever used PEDs.
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.
The only person that should support you out of those three is Michael Weiner because he technically has to as the executive director of the MLBPA. As for Selig and Manfred, it’s disgusting that they support you since you tried to lie and deceiver the system that have tried to create. Here was Manfred’s statement after Braun was suspended:
“We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions. We all agree that it is in the best interests of the game to resolve this matter. When Ryan returns, we look forward to him making positive contributions to Major League Baseball, both on and off the field.”
That’s just as bad as this “apology.”
I sincerely apologize to everybody involved in the arbitration process, including the collector, Dino Laurenzi, Jr.
Heyyyooooo! We have our first mention of Dino Laurenzi, Jr., the collector whose name Braun dragged through the mud and destroyed when it was first announced that the former MVP had failed a drug test. I thought we were going to make it through the entire thing without referencing his name.
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.
If Ryan Braun were to get suspended next year after all of this would anyone be surprised? If you would then you’re clearly not paying attention because if you told Braun today that he could take PEDs that would improve his game and they would go undetected and he would never fail a test or get caught, he would take them. He already used banned substances despite knowing that the possible risks and repercussions of using them, so of course he would take more banned substances if he would get away with it. So it’s hard to believe that Braun is going to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Mistake Counter: 5.
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.
You support baseball’s Joint Drug Treamtent and Prevention Program? The same program you tried to lie and cheat around? That’s a weird way to support something.
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.
The Mistake Counter ended with five, but here’s a sixth. It was a mistake to give a statement until you were ready to apologize.