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Ryan Braun does not owe you, or most anyone else, an apology

Jul 22, 2013, 8:09 PM EDT

braun getty Getty Images

Ryan Braun should apologize so we can talk about how insincere and self-serving his apologies are.”

–everyone in the next 24 hours.

It’s starting already, of course. Buster Olney wrote something already in which he compared Ryan Braun to Lance Armstrong and listed all of the people to whom Braun should apologize.

It’s probably not going to happen. At least publicly. Braun, if he is a good and decent person in any way probably owes an apology to Dino Laurenzi, Jr., the collector in Braun’s positive drug test last year. Braun’s comments were not exactly libelous — he was noting, correctly, that a compromised sample could result in a positive test — but he did it in a very public and very ham-handed way which gave the clear implication that he thought Laurenzi could’ve tainted his sample. That was a bit much then — most people realized he was making a procedural, not a substantive defense — but now his comments are laid bare as gratuitous and low rent.

But beyond that? I’m sorry, I’m having a hard time getting worked up over the need for Braun to apologize to anyone for anything. At least those not close to him. He owes apologies to his teammates for not being there for them now. He owes apologies to people he’s personally and directly lied to. He owes apologies to his lawyers for putting them in an uncomfortable position back in January when he made them answer for his claim that they consulted with Bosch legally when that didn’t happen. His family, of course.

But Olney mentions Braun’s need to apologize to many more classes of people, and I’m just not seeing it.

The 2011 Diamondbacks are cited because Braun helped the Brewers beat them in the NLDS. I’m having a hard time getting on board with that. For one thing, who’s to say they didn’t have a PED user on their team? But even if they didn’t, we can’t play the “this would’ve happened if not for that” game in baseball, be it with PEDs or anything else. In that way lies madness. Should the 2004 Red Sox apologize? Where do we stop with this?

Apologies to the Brewers owners who gave Braun his big contract? What, they didn’t benefit from all of Braun’s exploits over the past few years? Of course they did. Exploits which are not solely PED-realized anyway, but even if they were, benefits all the same. They gave Braun his money with their eyes open and an awareness of the risks signing any power hitter presents. There is a drug testing and penalty system in place. All teams operate with the knowledge that they could lose any player for 50 games or more at any time. This is the cost of doing business. Business done by sophisticated parties.

But I know where you’re going next: Braun should apologize to the fans. To the kids out there who believed in him.  Well: bull.

Athletes don’t owe their personal integrity to the fans or the public at large. We have created a romantic fiction that fans “believe” in superstars, but they mostly don’t. They believe in athletic exploits and winning and the vicarious satisfaction they get when “their team” does well. Brewers fans rooted for the team before Braun played there and they will once he’s gone.  They rooted for Braun after last year’s appeal — they may be the only ones — and it’s not a rooting based on “belief” in any real sense. He’s their guy. They defend their guy because he helps their team win.

If there are those who truly believe in Braun — the “say it ain’t so” crowd — well, I’m sorry. They’re deluded. Kids included. Charles Barkley was right: athletes are not role models. They should not be. Parents shouldn’t encourage that. Athletes are like any other people: they’re flawed and often awful.

Maybe that seems harsh, but it’s the way it is. There is so much B.S. surrounding baseball because we can’t seem to let go 19th century modes of interaction with these highly-paid, supremely set-apart professional athletes. They are, for all practical purposes, total strangers to us. Let us not pretend they are not. Let us not pretend that they owe us anything more than that we are owed by other total strangers.

166 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. packers412qbs - Jul 23, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    What is going to bother me is that when the brewers come to play in the city I live(not Milwaukee) the home team fans here will give us brewers fan the riot act. And that is BS! I’ve cheered for my brewers through the good times(yount, molitor) to the not so good times(see 100 lose seasons). The fact that me and my family will have to put with obnoxious behavior from the home team fans is because the hateful trolls that pollute these message boards are the same ones yelling at games. Social media is part of the problem with violent behavior you see at games. And I for one am so tired of it!

    • pjmarn6 - Jul 23, 2013 at 11:09 PM

      What Crummy Craig is saying is that he will not apologize for the incredibly stupid pro PEDs article he wrote.

    • richeich - Jul 26, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      I agree with you.I too am titled of the Brewers mouthing off about other teams, and how the Brewers are getting picked on.yet they scream the loudest when they are picked on, and they yell at any team they think is out of line.yet the
      owners do nothing to punish the players, or a security guard when they step out of line.OH NO,don’t punish the poor
      Brewers, lets take it out on a fan expressing their opinion in a perfectly acceptable manner. If you can’t stand the heat,
      GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN. By the way if you don’t like criticism, don’t have a phone. The brewers are whinny

  2. dallasstars9 - Jul 23, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    I guess lying through your teeth in front of a mic and camera doesn’t require any credibility in your opinion?

    • larry188 - Jul 28, 2013 at 8:58 AM

      Braun sure as hell doesn’t have anything to prove to you. Don’t watch the Brewers and shut up about it.

    • gmsingh - Jul 28, 2013 at 7:12 PM

      Braun doesn’t owe an apology, he owes us an early retirement. Clean these guys out like the cockroaches that they are.

  3. The Grand Occident - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    I just can’t believe it. A Jew lied?! Unreal!

    • jziii - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      Wow. Way to make yourself look like a bigger loser than Ryan Braun.

    • tedhuman7 - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      So I guess A Nazi scumbag can write anything about some guy if he is half Jewish, assuming the NON Jewish, Irish Catholic side was not the offending ethnicity .

    • joshshaine - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      11 thumbs up to 66 down?

      That’s a pretty high percentage of bigots.

      • xerac - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:26 PM

        They long for the pre-1947 days. Heck, I bet they would have been yelling out taunts to Hank Greenberg.

  4. ilovegspot - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Craig Calcatera has been a Braun apologist since his POSITIVE testosterone test. HE wrote the MLB would not come through with a suspension.

  5. deedee2die4 - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Braun should do a cry baby apology. Both Andi PEDitte and Mark McLiar are still in uniform … Of course they shouldn’t be.

  6. Lance - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Wow, Craig with your nihilism and sympathy for the devil, a drug cheat, you should form a punk band. I’m definitely download your EP before you guys broke up due to everyone hating you and at least of your band members killing themselves with drugs.

    Braun should give his 3 million in salary he’ll lose this season to Dino Laurenzi. Then, Braun should let Aaron Rodgers punch him in the face for supporting him on Twitter to grand embarrassment. Then he should let you, Craig, pee his next sample.

    After that, I’m satisfied.

    • larry188 - Jul 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM

      Sure you’re not n the juice?

  7. tedhuman7 - Jul 23, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    How does anyone know when Braun used PEDs ( if that is what he really did take to help himself as an athlete ) So how can we judge how he performed at a particular time in history ? We cannot, just as we cannot just eliminate ALL of A Rod ‘s stats and accomplishments. Plus we are really surprised that someone is accused and they denied the accusation ??? that is shocking to many of you ? Not to me.
    I would have advised him differently and maybe the vile comments I have seen over the past 2 days would have been less so. Braun is part of a professional sports culture and those athletes who are sanctimoniously twisting the knife in Braun’s
    back, are hypocrites of the highest order. Braun WILL return next season and he will perform at a high level, maybe NOT as high as in the past, but we shall see. Too bad that we do not have special sunglasses ( See ” They live”, John Carpenter film from late 80’s) which would allow us to see how much Extra chemicals are ANY athlete, so we could judge them and reveal their unnatural advantage and then we could properly see the Braun case in context. I am saddened by this .

    • larry188 - Jul 28, 2013 at 9:02 AM

      No shit, well said. Like everyone was waiting with bated breath to hear what, oh, Zack Greinke had to say about Braun.

  8. Flavor - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    I rarely post on blogs but this thread is so unbelievably stupid and short sighted I feel like I must. Athletes aren’t role models? To use your word against you: *bull*. Are pro athletes so clueless and unaware about their status that they can’t see the kids wearing their jerseys? That they don’t notice the starry eyes looking up at them when they’re signing autographs?

    • jollyjoker2 - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:08 PM

      These guys make a lot of money and live in a different world and so I don’t blame them at all for cheating. .I would if I knew it would get me a few million more per year… Also, People don’t have to go to these games, but people do— I can’t figure it out for the life of me. I wouldn’t pay 2 bucks to see a baseball game let along 30 bucks plus another 50 for food and parking or more. Apparently a lot more people care and are willing spend a lot of cash to watch old men chase a little white ball around a hay field.

      • zapainhurtzalot - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        Joker- ” These guys make a lot of money and live in a different world and so I don’t blame them at all for cheating.” “Apparently a lot more people care and are willing spend a lot of cash to watch old men chase a little white ball around a hay field.”

        You talking about baseball or golf?

    • larry188 - Jul 28, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      He said they SHOULDN’T be role models. They can’t help it if a child’s surroundings are so devoid of admirable adult role models that they have to look to a sports player.

  9. Flavor - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    If they can accept the fortune for their efforts they can deal with the realities of that fame. If you’re a kid and you play baseball you look up to and admire pro baseball players. That’s just fact. And if you find out that the player you looked up to is a cheater and a liar and a fake apologizer, well, then you should look up to someone else. And though you won’t get it, goddamn right you should expect and demand a real apology……

  10. Flavor - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:33 AM

    What I cannot accept is the lying. I’m talking about the direct, look you in the eye lies. Because NOT everyone is doing that. That has nothing to do with gaining a competitive edge. When you lie the way Braun lied back in February of 2012 you are basically calling all of the rest of us idiots. I’m talking about all the reporters who gathered that day to listen to him, all the fans who read the articles written about it, your manager, your owner, everyone. It’s like he’s saying, “these people might just be dumb enough to believe this story.” And thousands of Brewers fans believed him. Trust in tact.

    If you cheat by taking steroids to excel in baseball, you’re basically saying you’re not good enough to perform at the highest level without cheating. That really has more to do with you and the perception of yourself and your abilities. But it’s YOUR personal risk. When you lie, now it’s affecting everyone else. Trust is one of the most basic things that binds the human race together. It’s the foundation of our monetary system, our legal system, our government, our relationships with other people, everything. And your word is the starting point for whether or not you will gain and/or maintain the trust of others.

    If it turns out that your word is worthless, that’s pretty much impossible to overcome. You could try apologizing and that works sometimes. Second chances happen, for sure. But he apologized for NOTHING in his statement. Apologizing to anyone you may have disappointed is not an apology for your actions. He could apologize for cheating. He could apologize for lying about it. He could apologize for fingering the innocent FedEx worker. He could apologize for believing the fans were stupid enough to believe his lies. He could apologize to the kids who wore his jersey and looked up to him as their idol. He could apologize for being a fake idol. And there are probably other things he could apologize for that would make me at least respect the smallest slightest thing about him. But he apologized for none of those things.

    Imagine Braun was apologizing to you.

    Ryan: “I apologize if I may have disappointed you.”

    Me: “Huh? How did you disappoint me?”

    Ryan: “I know. That’s what I’m apologizing for.”

    Me: “What did you do?”

    Ryan: “I may have disappointed you.”

    See how this doesn’t quite cover it?

    • zapainhurtzalot - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      Well put Flavor! But part of his apology, if he ever decides to give a REAL one and come completely clean on his actions, would be to give the MVP trophy back and a majority of his salary that he earned to a charitable organization. But we all know he won’t do any of this.

      I will give him props for not appealing his punishment and admitting he used unlike A-Fraud is so full of himself that he’s denying everything and fighting until the bitter end. What a class act that one is…NOT!!! I hope the Yankees fire his lying ass and see if any other team would take a chance on him. I highly doubt it, but ya never know.

  11. xerac - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    Skip Schumaker needs to quit holding back and tell us how he really feels:,0,3698755.story

  12. mbankston - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:53 AM

    As usual Craig is a fucking idiot. Don’t know how he keeps a job. Unless of course you reward sports writers for stupidity

  13. denverdude7 - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    I say get the highest strength steroids, HGH & testosterone available and let all professional athletes use them to their hearts content.

    Be honest, weren’t the home run derby’s of the 90’s fun and exciting? If an athlete wants to risk his future health and well-being for fleeting fame and glory so be it.

    Sports (especially baseball) isn’t about competition or victory anymore. It’s about selling beer, tortilla chips and cars and squeezing every last dollar out of the fans. This statement is proven by the fact that MLB still has not adopted a hard salary cap.

    Let’s face it, a Cleveland vs. Milwaukee World Series will never sell as much beer and chips as a New York vs. Los Angeles World Series will.

    So let the players juice up all they want. It will make swallowing my $7 hot dog and $8 beer much easier.

  14. jollyjoker2 - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    I am only surprised that others in the league don’t come after this guy. I mean, he is stealing their jobs and pay. The guy probably can’t hit about a ball passed second base without being juiced so you have to think others would get upset… And lets face it people.. you righteous folk. $5 million a year or more for a needed once a month…You can’ put it 2 inches dead in m a canal for that type of money and I wouldn’t care one iota what some little snot nosed brat thought about “looking up to me”:. Gimme a break.

  15. sparky1002 - Jul 26, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    When does mandatory testing for all players become a reality in MLB? I mean really…what defense do those offended by PED use have for not instilling such a procedure years ago? Is this where we now get to hear commenters blame the Players Union for the lack of such tests? Maybe it wouldn`t make any difference when the likes of a Roger Clemens is found not guilty despite all the evidence to the contrary? What should the proper punishments be for those found using? Would banishment from pro-baseball be the proper course for such guilt, even on a first offense? One constantly hopes that objectivity would play a role at some point in peoples anger….I continue to wait for it to appear.

  16. brianc6234 - Jul 28, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    This site owes all of us an apology for letting you post this crap.

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