cheesin'Last week, we saw the first domino fall from Major League Baseball’s investigation into Biogenesis, a Miami-area clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). That domino came in the form of Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, who was suspended without pay for the remainder of this season. The suspension will total out to 65 games, which is in between MLBs policy for suspensions stemming from PED usage. The first offense is a 50-game suspension, and the second offense results in a 100-game suspension. If a third offense occurs, it could result in a lifetime ban from the sport. More suspensions appear to be coming soon from this investigation, and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is the other main domino expected to fall. Back to Braun, the fact he basically accepted a plea-bargain deal is sickening and sad at the same time. I don’t think it’s any secret MLB was out to get Braun after he was able to get a 50-game suspension overturned due to a technicality. Braun’s test, which came back positive for elevated levels of testosterone, was taken during the 2011 Divisional Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. When the original suspension was handed down, Braun did everything in his to deny his wrongdoing, including holding a press conference calling MLB’s drug-testing program into question. He, along with his legal team, produced a brilliant case. It was dirty, but brilliant nevertheless. It was definitely brilliant enough to get the suspension overturned. Whether players or fans still believed Braun was guilty or not, the fact was his name was cleared of any wrongdoing. Now comes this suspension for the rest of the season, and the man who fought so hard to claim his innocence now looks every bit as disgraced as cyclist Lance Armstrong did when he finally came clean about doping during his days of winning seven straight Tour de France titles. Armstrong lied and threw people under the bus to try and prove he didn’t cheat, and Braun did the same thing. After this present suspension was handed down, Braun apologized to the Brewers and his fans for “letting them down.” Cheating to gain an edge is bad enough, but the fact he lied about it, got caught one time, beat the system, and got caught again makes this even more disgusting. People want to hear from Braun in front of the press to see what he has to say publicly. My question is what exactly do they want to hear? An apology? The man cheated and got caught, then tried to cover it up by blaming other people. One thing about America is this country in general is a forgiving public, so Braun could probably stand in front of the press, say he’s sorry and be forgiven eventually. But is Braun really sorry for disappointing his family, friends (including Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers), and fans? Or is he just sorry he got caught? To me, it doesn’t matter what Braun says from here forward. The fact he just accepted what MLB handed down told me everything I needed to know. One would think a person who fights so hard for his innocence would actually be telling the truth. I guess after seeing some of the things people do, nothing should be a surprise these days. With that said, it doesn’t make this any less disappointing. Another aspect is Braun is still on the hook for over $100 million dollars from the Brewers. So even though the disgraced superstar will lose $3 million from the suspension, he’ll have more than enough opportunity to make it up financially. But there is a phrase that says “Money doesn’t always buy happiness.” While Braun will make more than enough money, he may never completely earn the respect and the good graces of the fans. That’s something that Braun will have to live and deal with for the rest of his career. All the money in the world may not be enough to heal that wound.

By Charles Taylor

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