Ryan Braun is guilty. As much as he denied it, we all knew. We knew that Braun beat the system. His urine sample wasn’t tampered with, and it wasn’t clean before the sample was taken. Neither collector Dino Laurenzi nor any employee of FedEx was to blame for Braun’s sample testing positive.
Faced with a mountain of evidence against him in the Biogenesis case Braun did what most criminals choose to do. He took a plea, taking a lesser penalty than he might if he went to trial. Yet in a courtroom one of the conditions to a plea is admitting your guilt and confessing to what you did. Braun still won’t speak those words, won’t admit to the use of PEDs and smearing the employee of the MLB baseball who took his drug sample.
All he admits to are “mistakes.” The biggest one clearly in his own head was getting caught. That’s what happens when you trust someone like Anthony Bosch.
And because it had all of that information in hand but not the surety that they’d win if Braun or the others brought it to court, MLB was willing to deal.
Braun looked behind him and found few allies. The players have basically come together finally to say we won’t support the cheats. The union based on their prompting said it would represent them in bargaining, but not defend them if the issue went to court.
So Braun copped a plea. He pretty much had to. MLB wasn’t locked into 50- or even 100-game penalties for these offenses and for all the lies on top of it. Sixty-five games when your team is out of contention is a hell of a lot better than a lifetime ban and saying goodbye to over $130 million dollars.
And everyone including the players have said it isn’t enough.
Players like Skip Schumaker have made rather loud and bold statements.
"I can't stand it,” he told reporters Monday. “It needs to be eliminated from the game. I have an autographed Ryan Braun jersey hanging in my baseball room at home that I'll be taking down now because I don't want my son connecting this with what I had to do to get to to where I am and to have what I have.
"In my opinion, it should be an automatic lifetime ban. One strike -- you're out. ... It's ridiculous. They're still doing it?
"He lied. He lied to a lot of people. I was actually convinced after that MVP year that he didn't do anything. I think he should give that MVP trophy to Matt Kemp (runner-up in 2011).
"Suspend them all. It needs to get out of baseball."
And he’s just one of the many angry players and baseball people coming forward now that the truth is out and Braun’s lies are no longer believable.
No, Braun got off easy. And everyone from the fans to the commissioner knows it. But it was a huge victory for MLB. Braun was an MVP, an honor he did not deserve. He was a big example, not a minority player, not a marginal player, just a cheat. Simple as that -- no black or white involved. It gave MLB something it really wanted, a case where it was able to suspend a player without a positive test with the players standing behind it.
For the rest of the players involved with Biogenesis this is a huge blow. It not only validates MLB’s stance on them, but it also adds a ton of credibility to the evidence and testimony from Biogenesis, Bosch and the minions who backed up those records.
It sends a message that MLB can and will suspend the involved players now (and those it catches in the future). It also says that right now MLB is willing to deal with those who’ll admit to their guilt and not fight the system.
Right now those players have to be weighing their options. Most will probably cut a deal if it’s offered, some will claim they’ve already been punished (and some probably have) for this offense and one or two might even force MLB to take them to arbitration or court and risk the maximum penalty.
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