At the beginning of the 2012 season Ryan Braun insisted that he had never used performance enhancing drugs. Braun had successfully overturned a positive drug test on a technicality and took the liberty of insulting our intelligence with a pack of lies. Many baseball fans believed these lies, but I wasn’t one of them.
Ryan Braun is a cheater who got off easy (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)
Maybe I was a little biased against Braun. Maybe I was convinced that he was a cheater simply because he seemed to hit two homeruns per game every time the Brewers played the Astros. Or maybe I bought into the idea that MLB would not take a chance on suspending a member of the uber-powerful player’s union without sufficient evidence. Either way, it is now clear that Braun is a cheater.
On Monday it was announced that the Milwaukee outfielder would be suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season. Evidence stemming from Braun’s connection to the now defunct Miami based Biogenesis clinic gave MLB enough proof of PED usage to bring the hammer down hard.
A number of articles have been written on the Braun suspension, it’s severity, it’s effectiveness, the reaction, the evidence, etc. Here are a few links to some of those stories.
"A baseball source said the evidence was “so overwhelming” that the 2011 National League most valuable player had no choice but to accept the 65-game penalty or face a much longer suspension. ESPN reported the evidence showed Braun used “a sophisticated doping regimen” for an extended period of time."
"ESPN’s Buster Olney agrees that Braun’s apologies have only just begun. He writes that the Brewers signed Braun to be the Cal Ripken of their franchise and instead watched him turn into the Lance Armstrong of Major League Baseball."
"It will be interesting to see how many other players on non-contenders agree to similar deals, putting the appeals process aside and just agreeing to serve their suspensions in lost seasons."
"Braun’s deal that he made or whatever, it’s going to last 65 games. To me, it’s not enough. Next year he’s making even more money. I think it should have been a year’s suspension, at least. Just my take on it. I don’t get why guys have to do that stuff."
A series of text messages that proved Braun was doping on a regular basis may have been the clincher here. The player’s union agreeing to this suspension based on evidence that didn’t include a failed test is a major coup for the league. More suspensions for those linked to Biogenesis will be forthcoming.
Was Braun’s suspension too light? Probably. Who will be next? Rumors are now circulating that Alex Rodriguez could be facing a 150 game suspension.