Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Marcus Stroman to complete his college degree while he rehabs

    Mar 27, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT

    Marcus Stroman Marcus Stroman

    Marcus Stroman will be a proud college graduate the next time he takes the mound for the Blue Jays.

  2. Daniel Murphy likely to begin the season on the disabled list

    Mar 27, 2015, 11:05 PM EDT

    Daniel Murphy Daniel Murphy

    The Mets are likely to open the regular season without Daniel Murphy at second base.

  3. Alex Rios will deal with a thumb issue throughout the season

    Mar 27, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

    Alex Rios Alex Rios

    Alex Rios says he’ll have to manage his thumb injury throughout the duration of the 2015 season.

  4. Party like it’s 2011: Watch Jeff Francoeur throw out Alex Rodriguez at home plate

    Mar 27, 2015, 9:25 PM EDT

    Jeff Francoeur Jeff Francoeur

    Jeff Francoeur threw out Alex Rodriguez at the plate. It’s 2015, not 2011.

  5. Twins have inquired about watching Rafael Soriano throw

    Mar 27, 2015, 8:35 PM EDT

    Rafael Soriano Rafael Soriano

    The Twins reportedly have a bit of interest in free agent reliever Rafael Soriano.

  6. Domonic Brown unlikely to be ready for Opening Day

    Mar 27, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    Domonic Brown AP

    Domonic Brown is battling an Achilles injury, leaving him unlikely to play on Opening Day.

  7. Dodgers to shut Brandon League down for three weeks

    Mar 27, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Brandon League Brandon League

    Brandon League isn’t likely to pitch for a couple of months according to manager Don Mattingly.

  8. Jordan Zimmermann on extension with Nationals: “It’s not looking good.”

    Mar 27, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Jordan Zimmermann Jordan Zimmermann

    It doesn’t seem like the Nationals and Jordan Zimmermann will reach an agreement on a contract extension before the regular season begins.

  9. White Sox claim Kyle Drabek off waivers from Blue Jays

    Mar 27, 2015, 4:40 PM EDT

    Kyle Drabek Getty Images

    Drabek was once a top prospect and the Blue Jays acquired him from the Phillies in the Roy Halladay trade.

  10. Mariners pitcher David Rollins suspended 80 games for PEDs

    Mar 27, 2015, 4:13 PM EDT

    David Rollins Getty Images

    The Rule 5 pick had a decent shot of making the Mariners’ pen out of camp.

  11. 2015 Preview: Chicago White Sox

    Mar 27, 2015, 3:20 PM EDT

    Jose Abreu AP

    Should we be taking the rebuilt White Sox seriously as contenders?

  12. Justin Verlander leaves start with arm cramping

    Mar 27, 2015, 2:34 PM EDT

    Justin Verlander AP

    Verlander has continued to struggle this spring.

  13. Did David Ortiz admit to more than he realized with his Players’ Tribune editorial?

    Mar 27, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT

    David Ortiz David Ortiz

    There is only one reason a player should be tested for drugs as often as David Ortiz claims he has been: a previous positive test.

  14. Indians demote Danny Salazar to Triple-A

    Mar 27, 2015, 12:46 PM EDT

    danny salazar getty Getty Images

    Thanks to his mid-90s fastball and fantastic strikeout totals Salazar was a popular breakout pick for 2015.

  15. 2015 Preview: Atlanta Braves

    Mar 27, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Wandy Rodriguez Wandy Rodriguez

    The Braves had one of the stranger off-seasons, both adding and subtracting players while also attempting to rebuild. How bad will they be in 2015?

  16. Rangers tell Ryan Ludwick he will not make the team

    Mar 27, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    ludwick getty Getty Images

    Ludwick signed a minor-league deal with the Rangers in early February and it would have paid $1.75 million if he made the team at age 36.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Olivera (4147)
  2. J. Fernandez (3915)
  3. K. Bryant (3777)
  4. S. Souza (3652)
  5. S. Doolittle (3612)
  1. H. Ryu (3576)
  2. A. Cobb (3416)
  3. J. Kipnis (3378)
  4. G. Richards (3371)
  5. Y. Tomas (3332)