Skip to content

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

Jul 22, 2013, 8:09 PM EST

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. Padres sign Tyson Gillies to a minor league deal

    Feb 28, 2015, 11:45 PM EST

    Tyson Gillies Getty Images

    The Padres signed outfielder Tyson Gillies to a minor league deal, perhaps hopeful he could turn his fortunes around with a new organization.

  2. Yasmany Tomas to work at third base and in the outfield during spring training

    Feb 28, 2015, 10:40 PM EST

    Yasmany Tomas Yasmany Tomas

    The Diamondbacks want Yasmany Tomas to get as many at-bats as possible during spring training, so he’ll be starting at both third base and in the outfield.

  3. Jimmy Rollins: Mets’ future “looks pretty bright”

    Feb 28, 2015, 9:35 PM EST

    Jimmy Rollins Jimmy Rollins

    It’s odd to hear Jimmy Rollins say nice things about the Mets.

  4. Blue Jays sign Dayan Viciedo to a minor league deal

    Feb 28, 2015, 8:27 PM EST

    Dayan Viciedo Dayan Viciedo

    The Blue Jays brought in Dayan Viciedo to hold the fort until Michael Saunders returns from his knee injury.

  5. Jose Reyes on former teammate Ruben Tejada: “Something’s wrong.”

    Feb 28, 2015, 7:25 PM EST

    Ruben Tejada Ruben Tejada

    Ruben Tejada has been something of a lightning rod, and he recently received criticism from a former teammate and mentor.

  6. Josh Hamilton’s potential suspension would begin at the start of the regular season

    Feb 28, 2015, 6:20 PM EST

    Josh Hamilton Josh Hamilton

    Josh Hamilton’s punishment for using a drug of abuse may end up not being much of a punishment at all.

  7. Coco Crisp is dealing with a case of pinkeye again

    Feb 28, 2015, 5:28 PM EST

    Coco Crisp AP AP

    Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp missed more than a week down the stretch in 2012 due to pinkeye and now he’s dealing with it again.

  8. Craig Kimbrel made up some clever t-shirts for the new-look Braves

    Feb 28, 2015, 4:19 PM EST

    B-8j_DWXEAAL9Yh

    After trading the likes of Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, and Evan Gattis as well as adding a handful of veteran free agents, the Braves have a ton of new faces in camp this spring.

  9. Giancarlo Stanton was hit in the hip by a pitch during an intrasquad game today. Yes, he’s fine.

    Feb 28, 2015, 3:15 PM EST

    Giancarlo Stanton AP AP

    Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton had his season come to an end in horrific fashion last September when he suffered facial fractures and dental damage on a hit-by-pitch.

  10. Tweet of the Day: Juan Pierre has one regret as he heads into retirement

    Feb 28, 2015, 2:18 PM EST

    Juan Pierre Getty Getty Images

    Juan Pierre showed his sense of humor on Twitter after announcing his retirement from baseball.

  11. Chris Sale will be sidelined for three weeks with foot fracture

    Feb 28, 2015, 1:03 PM EST

    Chris Sale AP

    Sale suffered the injury unloading something off the back of his truck on Friday.

  12. Alex Rodriguez takes reps at first base for first time in career

    Feb 28, 2015, 12:10 PM EST

    Alex Rodriguez AP AP

    Chase Headley is expected to be the team’s regular third baseman this season, so Yankees manager Joe Girardi wants if Rodriguez can be a potential backup to Mark Teixeira.

  13. Nationals sign Rich Hill

    Feb 28, 2015, 10:02 AM EST

    Rich Hill AP AP

    Hill, who turns 35 next month, bounced around three different organizations last year and mostly pitched in the minors.

  14. Cliff Lee scheduled to make spring debut next Thursday

    Feb 28, 2015, 8:57 AM EST

    Cliff Lee AP AP

    It will be his first game action since last July 31.

  15. Rangers shut down Edgar Olmos due to shoulder impingement

    Feb 27, 2015, 11:04 PM EST

    Edgar Olmos Edgar Olmos

    The Rangers will shut down Edgar Olmos days after picking him up on a waiver claim from the Mariners.

  16. Eury Perez is early favorite to replace Melvin Upton in center field

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:55 PM EST

    Eury Perez Eury Perez

    Eury Perez is the early favorite to take over in center field while Melvin Upton recovers from a foot injury.

  17. Paul Molitor to implement limit on electronics use in Twins’ clubhouse

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:05 PM EST

    Paul Molitor Paul Molitor

    New Twins manager Paul Molitor cracked down on electronics usage in his first address to the full squad at spring training.

  18. Ruben Amaro, Jr.: Ryan Howard is in the best shape “since I’ve known him”

    Feb 27, 2015, 9:10 PM EST

    Ryan Howard Ryan Howard

    Ryan Howard had his first full healthy season since 2011 and both GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. and guest instructor Dan Plesac thought he looked like he was in very good shape.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. Z. Greinke (2602)
  2. A. Wainwright (2577)
  3. D. Viciedo (2573)
  4. M. Upton (2355)
  5. A. Gordon (2313)