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Ryan Braun accepts MVP award at BBWAA banquet

Jan 22, 2012, 10:05 AM EDT

braun busch getty Getty Images

Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun accepted his National League Most Valuable Player award on Saturday night at the Baseball Writers Association of America awards banquet in New York City.

It was his first public appearance since the news broke last month that he tested positive for “insanely high” levels of synthetic testosterone just before the start of the Brewers’ NLDS matchup with Arizona.

Braun gave a short speech, touching on his lingering PED conviction only in broad terms (via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel):

“Sometimes in life we all deal with challenges we never expected to endure. We have an opportunity to look as those challenges and view them either as obstacles or opportunities. I’ve chosen to view every challenge I’ve ever faced as an opportunity and this will be no different. I’ve always believed that a person’s character is revealed through the way they deal with those moments of adversity.

“I’ve always loved and had so much respect for the game of baseball. Everything I’ve done in my career has been done with that respect and appreciation in mind, and that is why I’m so grateful and humbled to accept this award tonight. Thank you again to everybody and I hope you guys enjoy the rest of your evening.”

Braun pleaded his innocence Thursday in front of a three-person arbitration panel. A ruling should be coming soon. If the test result is upheld, he will serve a 50-game suspension at the start of the 2012 regular season.

  1. dubitodd123 - Jan 22, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    What a joke

  2. natsattack - Jan 22, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    No $hit.

  3. jason1214 - Jan 22, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    Cheater, cheater….

  4. missthemexpos - Jan 22, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Not aiming this specifically at Braun, but how many athletes in all sports when caught using performance enhancing drugs actually come out and say they are in fact guilty as charged? The first rule of thumb certainly appears to be DENY, DENY, DENY.

    • Old Gator - Jan 22, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      “Deny, deny, deny.”
      ,,,Robert Morse, A Guide for the Married Man

      • bigharold - Jan 22, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        ““Deny, deny, deny.””

        I thought that was from the RNC.

    • Kevin S. - Jan 22, 2012 at 11:45 AM

      When A-Rod was outed, he fessed up. Were things noticeably better for him for coming clean? No, he was still villified. They deny because there’s absolutely no downside to doing so.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 22, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        And remember, not only are you a cheater, you are now an admitted cheater.

      • lovesmesomeme - Jan 22, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        When did he admit he cheated?

      • Kevin S. - Jan 22, 2012 at 2:46 PM

        Before the 2009 season, after it was leaked that he was one of the 104 names that tested positive in ’03.

      • quintjs - Jan 22, 2012 at 3:06 PM

        he may have fessed up, but if i recall it wasn’t the first thing he did. there were some things said about the espn reporter. It wasn’t until hard facts were presented that he ‘fessed up’.

        But the better A-Rod question was do you really think he was honest when he said he only used it that one time he was caught? that he had not been using it for years? it is the athlete way – they all just deny it.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 22, 2012 at 4:55 PM

        Actually, he admitted to using it for years, and to using ephedra (sp?) when he was with Seattle. As for not admitting without hard facts, do you really think these guys would use, only to fess up upon being called out without any evidence. I have *never* understood the “Not only did he use, but he lied about it!” angst that comes from certain parts of the media. Of course they lied about it! What, you think they would use and then just hope nobody would ever speculate about them?

      • modman11957 - Jan 23, 2012 at 1:52 AM

        You call what a hole rod did fessing up?

      • henryd3rd - Jan 23, 2012 at 4:12 PM

        One difference with A-Rod’s use of PED’s at the time it was not against MLB’s rules and those tests results were suppose to be kept secret. Someone in MLB’s head office leaked those results to the press.

        Braun’s problem is that he plays for Bud Selig’s daughter’s team. Can you spell embarrassing? If they find him innocent imagine the outcry from certain circles?

  5. marshmallowsnake - Jan 22, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Long drive by Braun…. To the convenience store.

    • lovesmesomeme - Jan 22, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      ?????

      • marshmallowsnake - Jan 22, 2012 at 9:10 PM

        These are the only long drives he will be taking

      • marshmallowsnake - Jan 22, 2012 at 9:11 PM

        These are the only long drives he will be taking part in for a while.

    • baseballisboring - Jan 22, 2012 at 2:34 PM

      Just once, I’d like to see somebody not take the high road and just be a complete ass about accepting the award. I’d love to see someone at the BBWAA podium say “I won the NL MVP. And I won it because I’m great. Know what I mean? I have this award. None of you have it. I do.” And then an awkward moment of silence, then walking off the podium.

  6. Stiller43 - Jan 22, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    I think if you plead your innocence and waste time and money on appeals and whatnot, you should get like. 50% higher suspension than if you just say “okay, ya caught me..” unfortunate if you really are innocent, but how many times do you think truly innocent people get caught in these situations?

  7. royalsfaninfargo - Jan 22, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    No class, he should have skipped this.

    • baseballisboring - Jan 22, 2012 at 4:52 PM

      I think the writers protesting and saying he should give it back have even less class.

  8. imaginesuperbowlwin - Jan 22, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    If he’s “always had so much love and respect for this game” then he should have manned up and declined the award.

  9. randygnyc - Jan 22, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    He had an historic opportunity to change the “cheating” culture in all of sports. He could have stood before the world and refused the award, while admitting to cheating and offer his sincerest apologies. But that would take character. Not much of that in pro sports.

    • Old Gator - Jan 22, 2012 at 5:27 PM

      I still think he should have sent Professor Irwin Corey to accept the award, a la Thomas Pynchon. Or, at least, pull a Brando and send Sacheen Littlefeather.

      Come to think of it, hell of a Playboy spread Sacheen did afterwards. I wonder how she’d look at 60 – maybe do a centerfold in Modern Codger?

  10. normcash - Jan 22, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    My, my, my….all these commentors seem to know beyond doubt that Braun is guilty…and a cheater.
    And yet none of them knows, because the facts haven’t been made public, much less Braun’s
    defense to them, what happened. What was the banned substance? How was the testing conducted? Who conducted the tests? What’s Braun’s answer to the charge? All we have are press
    reports quoting “sources”—and they are never wrong, right? And, of course, the charge is as good as proof, right? As for Stiller43, he reminds me of prosecutors who only go for the death penalty
    if the defendant pleads not guilty and wants a trial.

    • cur68 - Jan 22, 2012 at 5:14 PM

      This.
      PS: Thanks for saving me the trouble, Norm.

    • badmamainphilliesjamas - Jan 22, 2012 at 5:50 PM

      Oh, but glib moralizing is so easy! You don’t want to take away anyone’s fun, do you?

    • modman11957 - Jan 23, 2012 at 2:04 AM

      I agree with most of what you said but every one we believed in the past just played us for suckers. So you really can’t blame people for not waiting.

  11. rhandome - Jan 22, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Spare me the moralizing. Steroids don’t make you a better hitter (disagree? Prove it, and try not to mention the 1990’s if you’re gonna gloss over expansion, Coors Field, changes to the baseball, etc).

    Kind of a moot point anyway, since Matt Kemp should’ve been MVP.

    • dwil12 - Jan 22, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      no they dont make you a better hitter but it does help you hit the ball farther you ass. testosterone makes you stronger therefore making you hit the ball farther. could also make some of those balls you “just miss” get out of the park.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 22, 2012 at 4:57 PM

        Actually, steroids and testosterone tend to most improve upper body muscle mass, while batting power is mostly generated from the lower body.

      • modman11957 - Jan 23, 2012 at 1:50 AM

        Being stronger makes someone who can already hit better. That’s obvious anyone who can’t see that is blind. Whatch baseball confidential, I believe every one ever on the show has that opinion.

    • lanflfan - Jan 23, 2012 at 3:57 PM

      I have no stats, or articles, or links. I have no fancy graphics, or computer simulations. But I do have eyes.

      And my eyes saw Mark McGwire go from being a lanky guy in his 20’s to built like a main battle tank in his mid to late 30’s. He also routinely hit a baseball (again in his late 30’s) further than players in their 20’s do. That Band-Aid in St Louis, where he hit one of those routine mammoth shots, is pretty lonely.

      My eyes saw Barry Bonds, who was always always a good hitter with power, hit more career home runs than any other MLBer ever, with a significant number in his late 30’s and 40’s. And, Barry’s head grew more sizes than the Grinch’s heart did.

      I find it curious to say the least, given what other players were taking in MLB at the time, that these two weren’t taking PED’s. And, given their claim to fame was home runs, apparently PED’s DO give you more power.

      Unless it really was the Flintstones vitamins.

    • vivabear - Jan 23, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      Rhandome – it’s not like someone takes one dose of anabolics and becomes a batting champion. The increased strength from taking steroids has some positive impact on hitting a baseball. By significantly increasing a player’s strength from what it naturally would have been, you are increasing bat speed of that player. Increased bat speed allows the hitter to let the ball get deeper into the hitting zone before making the reaction to swing. This can give the player the ability to lay off pitches he otherwise may have swung at, and been unable to hit – without the increased bat speed.

      Kevin S – what you say is accepted as true…but even though there are more adrogen receptors in the upper body, making it more responsive to anabolic steroids – the lower body still does respond to the steroids. And bat speed is mostly based on hip rotation – so that probably correlates to core muscles and lower body muscles both.

  12. bigharold - Jan 22, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    All the post that say Braun should have refused the award and confessed presumes that he in fact knowingly took steroids. How would you KNOW that? In fact, at this point it’s not even clear what he took specifically or what the particulars are in general. Regardless of the well founded skepticism of baseball fans concerning PEDs there is a very good possibility he is guilty of nothing else than mistakenly taking a generally legal over the counter product that contained banned substances.

    At the end of the day each player will and should be held solely responsible to ensure that they are clean. Whether knowingly or not they if a player takes PEDs he needs to be subject to the consequences. Braun has been held accountable but the entire story is still unknown. He still should be given the benefit of the doubt until evidence, .. not rumor, .. unattributed leaks, .. innuendo, demonstrates otherwise.

  13. imaginesuperbowlwin - Jan 22, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    I for one do NOT presume Braun knowingly took steroids. The black cloud hanging over him should have been enough reason to not accept the award.

  14. scottwil - Jan 22, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    I’d like to find out what the facts are before hanging somebody. Also, it’s not like a toothpick guy ballooned up into a mastadon and suddenly started hitting 73 HRs as he approached 40. If this was from treatment for a medical condition, I would at least like to know that.

    • modman11957 - Jan 23, 2012 at 9:31 AM

      I say build the gallows,just in case.

  15. johnsk54 - Jan 22, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    He’s guilty because whatever he was taking he should have made sure it wouldn’t show up on a drug test and the very least checked with MLB to see if it was legal.

  16. mojosmagic - Jan 22, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    He has been cheating for a long time and I have lost all respect for the guy. See you as an average baseball player in 50 games. The league is wrong for giving a test positive player the MVP award.

    • ufullpj - Jan 23, 2012 at 9:31 AM

      Wow! Great, thanks for saving us, and everyone else all the time wondering about gathering facts, etc. Just do us all a favor, and present your proof. Thanks again!

  17. rcali - Jan 22, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    I think I was raised differently. Not sure I could take that award with a clear conscious. I guess we know all we need to know about Braun.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 22, 2012 at 4:58 PM

      Ya know it is possible that his positive test was an accident. If he knows that he didn’t intentionally cheat and the positive test was a result of medicine or whatever else than he should accept that award with a clear conscience.

  18. johnsk54 - Jan 22, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    If it was the result of medicine why not say something until you test positive, this defense has never worked before and won’t work this time .

    • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 22, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      Maybe he didn’t think it would make him test positive for something. Maybe he wasn’t exactly proud of the reason he was taking the medication and wasn’t looking to share it with people.

  19. plmathfoto - Jan 22, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    As I’ve said before, I want to see how Selig deals with this given this is one of his guys (Milwaukee). If he gets a pardon, well…

  20. johnsk54 - Jan 22, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    How’s he looking now?

  21. ufullpj - Jan 23, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    As a former prosecutor, where were all of you when I was taking a case to trial and picking a jury? With such a blind, insanely-quick rush to judgment, you all could have saved me countless hours worth of work trying to separate fact from fiction, reality from myth, gather facts, and then present case to convict beyond a reasonable doubt.

    The reality is that if the situation were reversed – and people were judging you without your ability to present a public defense – you would all probably have very different feelings about this “process”.

    Braun, or any other player or person in his position, cannot say anything publicly until the appeal is heard and there is a ruling issued by the appeals board. Someone can leak the information to a media outlet, such as ESPN, and there is nothing the player can do to protect themselves in the court of public opinion.

    There’s not one person posting on here who has any clue about the facts of the case, anymore than I do. But I do have sufficient experience knowing that rumor, insinuation, and reality are often very, very different once all the facts are presented.

    • stevejeltzjehricurl - Jan 23, 2012 at 9:59 AM

      Dead on. I’m fine with the MLB suspension because those are the rules, but as someone who has worked in the criminal justice system on both sides, I’m not as confident as everyone here is in the sanctity of the test results or the process. And the nature of the strict liability players have signed onto for their test results means that it is perfectly possible for a player to break the rules by being careless or without the intent to do so. Again, those are the rules, but even a positive test doesn’t prove anyone’s intent to cheat.

  22. Chris Fiorentino - Jan 23, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    There are a couple ways to look at this, and none of them mean anything to Braun’s case. He could lose his appeal, and probably will, and still not have been cheating. When did “intent” become pertinent to whether someone is suspended or not? As far as I remember, if you took a banned substance, you are suspended. Period. Intent is not adamant to the discussion. Now, if you want to make the case that he “cheated” then yeah, you have to prove intent. But it’s a dangerous and slippery slope when you start labeling everyone who is suspended for using a banned substance a “cheater”.

    Personally, I don’t think Braun is a “cheater”. I think he mistakenly listened to the wrong doctors and got himself banned for 50 games. If there is justice in the world, he will sue those doctors for the missed time, salary, and damage to his reputation and if he is right, those doctors will never practice medicine again. If he doesn’t at the very least sue, or come out and tell everyone exactly what happened and why he was banned, then I think it is fair to assume he was cheating. But until the story plays itself out, it is unfair to just label him a cheater right now. But if he is suspended for 50 games and never says a word about what happened, then yeah, I think it is fair to say he cheated.

    • badmamainphilliesjamas - Jan 23, 2012 at 12:29 PM

      Agreed, Chris. To the hard-liners, it is a distinction without a difference, but I just can’t judge everyone who violates the rules a “cheater.” While I understand why MLB enforcement doesn’t distinguish between intentional and unintentional violations, moral judgement could allow for more nuance.

      Regardless, I fail to see why anyone feels compelled to pass judgement before the facts are out.

      • maverick8948 - Jan 23, 2012 at 3:25 PM

        …especially considering someone told Dan Patrick this morning that he may in fact be exonerated.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 23, 2012 at 5:45 PM

      I don’t see how doctors getting sued and then never working again would be a good thing or as you call it “justice.” That to me is actually one of the dumber comments I’ve seen on here regarding Braun, and there are some pretty stupid things being said.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 23, 2012 at 7:34 PM

        Did you read the lines before the one you quoted? I said I don’t think he was cheating. I think he was medically mistreated by doctors. If he was medically mistreated, then do you think those doctors shouldn’t be held liable? Your response, which is both ignorant and foolish, is not one of…but it is the dumbest comment I have ever read on any forum, at any time, in the history of the internetzzzzzz

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 23, 2012 at 7:56 PM

        If it is medication that caused it what makes you think Braun was medically mistreated? He goes to a doctor with an illness and they treat it with antibiotics. What they prescribed didn’t kill him or cause him any long term medical damage, it helped with his current condition. It just so happened to also cause him to fail a PED test. Antibiotics have side affects, this isn’t news or illegal.

  23. mvp43 - Jan 23, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    I’ve followed Braun’s career pretty closely and its common knowledge that he is very careful about what he puts in his body. He’s been tested since the minors and has never tripped a test or shown any signs of PED use. Now I also heard that Dan Patrick has a source telling him that it was a false positive………if that is indeed the case, someone has alot of splaining to do!

  24. muskyhunter2542 - Jan 23, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/137896658.html

    Read this and you may think different

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