Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, sitting out a 65-game suspension through the end of the 2013 season, issued a statement Thursday night apologizing for his actions and providing “a more specific account of what I did and why I deserved to be suspended.”
While Braun says he is taking accountability for what he did and promises more specifics, he doesn’t say what he took other than referring to them as “products.”
“Here is what happened,” Braun said in the statement. “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.”
In the statement, Braun apologized to “everybody involved in the arbitration process, including the collector, Dino Laurenzi Jr.”
He also said he regretted putting his teammates and the Brewers organization in the position he did.
“I feel terrible that I put my teammates in a position where they were asked some very difficult and uncomfortable questions,” Braun said. “One of my primary goals is to make amends with them.”
Braun said in the statement that he privately apologized to commissioner Bud Selig and to Rob Manfred of Major League Baseball, as well as to Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner.
Braun says he accepted his suspension last month despite not seeing the evidence MLB had accumulated.
“I came to the realization that it was time to come to grips with the truth,” Braun said. “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.”
The statement comes exactly a month after he was suspended by Major League Baseball on July 22.
Before issuing the statement, Braun had earlier reached out to manager Ron Roenicke and others in the organization.
He is also the defendant in a civil suit brought by his college friend, Ralph Sasson, which accused Braun of defaming him. Sasson alleges in the suit, filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court in July, that Braun used performance-enhancing drugs as far back as when he played for the University of Miami from 2003-05.
The timing of Braun’s statement coincided with the team being en route to Cincinnati for their weekend series with the Reds, meaning his teammates will at least have some idea what they will be facing when they get to the ballpark on Friday.
One of the most interesting phrases from the statement was this one: “I kept the truth from everyone. For a long time, I was in denial and convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong.”
According to Braun, it was that mindset that led to his vehement denials after his positive PED test in 2011 and his strong comments after he won his arbitration hearing in February 2012.
It is, all in all, a positive step for Braun … at least as far as it goes. However, it still leaves him insulated from answering direct questions from the press and instead puts his teammates and others in the organization back into that particular line of fire.
If nothing else, it reminds us yet again of a truth that seems far too readily forgotten: The act of the cover up is almost always worse than the wrongdoing being covered up.
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