Reactions to Reading Ryan Braun’s Apology in Real Time

(Image: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

The news that Ryan Braun finally issued an apology for PED use broke within an hour of me writing this sentence.  This is the moment Brewers fans have been waiting for since Braun accepted a season-ending suspension last month.  We all think we know what we wanted him to say, and now he finally said something.  But is it enough?  Let’s find out!

I’m going to read Braun’s apology right now and make snap judgments.  I wonder if I’ll still feel the same way tomorrow.  Oh well, here we go…

Now that the initial MLB investigation is over, I want to apologize for my actions and provide a more specific account of what I did and why I deserved to be suspended. I have no one to blame but myself. I know that over the last year and a half I made some serious mistakes, both in the information I failed to share during my arbitration hearing and the comments I made to the press afterwards.

Good start.  When “no one to blame but myself” is in the second sentence, I’d say he’s on the right track.  C’mon, Ryan, I’m ready to forgive.  Lay it on me.

I have disappointed the people closest to me – the ones who fought for me because they truly believed me all along. I kept the truth from everyone. For a long time, I was in denial and convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong.

Denial and rationalization are instincts everyone has dealt with.  We can all identify with doing something wrong and trying to avoid the consequences.  Tell me more.

It is important that people understand that I did not share details of what happened with anyone until recently. My family, my teammates, the Brewers organization, my friends, agents, and advisors had no knowledge of these facts, and no one should be blamed but me. Those who put their necks out for me have been embarrassed by my behavior. I don't have the words to express how sorry I am for that.

Ooh, it must have been eating him up inside, knowing that everyone was sticking up for him.  That’s where the denial comes in – helping you deal with the fact that people you care about don’t even know they’ve been caught up in your lie.

Here is what happened. During the latter part of the 2011 season, I was dealing with a nagging injury and I turned to products for a short period of time that I shouldn't have used. The products were a cream and a lozenge which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation. It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately.

“Here is what happened” sounds like the kind of thing a “handler” would want to rephrase or take out.  It’s the kind of thing you say in conversation but don’t write in a statement.  That gives me the idea Braun might have written this thing himself (with editorial input, natch), but maybe I’m an easy sell.  As for the explanation that he used PEDs to overcome injury…that’s pretty much what we were expecting him to say, right?  It might as well be true.

I deeply regret many of the things I said at the press conference after the arbitrator's decision in February 2012. At that time, I still didn't want to believe that I had used a banned substance. I think a combination of feeling self righteous and having a lot of unjustified anger led me to react the way I did. I felt wronged and attacked, but looking back now, I was the one who was wrong. I am beyond embarrassed that I said what I thought I needed to say to defend my clouded vision of reality. I am just starting the process of trying to understand why I responded the way I did, which I continue to regret. There is no excuse for any of this.

Well.  That’s about as straight an explanation we could want for that press conference, right?  He just flat out said he was full of crap and there was no excuse.  That’s pretty unequivocal.  (Although I would have hyphenated “self-righteous.”)

For too long during this process, I convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong. After my interview with MLB in late June of this year, I came to the realization that it was time to come to grips with the truth. I was never presented with baseball's evidence against me, but I didn't need to be, because I knew what I had done. I realized the magnitude of my poor decisions and finally focused on dealing with the realities of-and the punishment for my actions.

At this point, I wonder if the pundits/commenters who took pleasure in pointing out what a lying cheater Braun…are they feeling joy?  Satisfaction?  He’s coming clean here – is that enough for the Gregg Doyels of the world who had a good time flaunting their moral superiority for all to see?

I requested a second meeting with Baseball to acknowledge my violation of the drug policy and to engage in discussions about appropriate punishment for my actions. By coming forward when I did and waiving my right to appeal any sanctions that were going to be imposed, I knew I was making the correct decision and taking the first step in the right direction. It was important to me to begin my suspension immediately to minimize the burden on everyone I had so negatively affected- my teammates, the entire Brewers organization, the fans and all of MLB. There has been plenty of rumor and speculation about my situation, and I am aware that my admission may result in additional attacks and accusations from others.

Prediction on the headline of Greg Doyel’s next post on this subject: “Nope, Still Not Enough.”

I love the great game of baseball and I am very sorry for any damage done to the game. I have privately expressed my apologies to Commissioner Selig and Rob Manfred of MLB and to Michael Weiner and his staff at the Players' Association. I'm very grateful for the support I've received from them. I sincerely apologize to everybody involved in the arbitration process, including the collector, Dino Laurenzi, Jr. I feel terrible that I put my teammates in a position where they were asked some very difficult and uncomfortable questions. One of my primary goals is to make amends with them.

I was wondering at the top if he was going to mention Laurenzi by name.  It seemed like if he didn’t it would have been a glaring omission.

I understand it’s a blessing and a tremendous honor to play this game at the Major League level. I also understand the intensity of the disappointment from teammates, fans, and other players. When it comes to both my actions and my words, I made some very serious mistakes and I can only ask for the forgiveness of everyone I let down. I will never make the same errors again and I intend to share the lessons I learned with others so they don’t repeat my mistakes. Moving forward, I want to be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem.

The only reason I won’t forgive Braun is that I never thought he owed me an apology.  Although, I suppose asking for forgiveness is probably the right move.

I support baseball’s Joint Drug Treatment and Prevention Program and the importance of cleaning up the game. What I did goes against everything I have always valued- achieving through hard work and dedication, and being honest both on and off the field. I also understand that I will now have to work very, very hard to begin to earn back people's trust and support. I am dedicated to making amends and to earning back the trust of my teammates, the fans, the entire Brewers' organization, my sponsors, advisors and from MLB. I am hopeful that I can earn back the trust from those who I have disappointed and those who are willing to give me the opportunity. I am deeply sorry for my actions, and I apologize to everyone who has been adversely affected by them.

Works for me.  Having read the whole thing now, I realize I didn’t really know what I wanted from Braun’s explanation.  Now that I have it, I don’t know what more I could have asked for.  Everyone has acknowledged Braun has a long way to go to earn back the goodwill of his peers and fans.  As far as first steps go, this was as good as it gets.  I reserve the right to change my opinion, but my gut reaction is that anyone who doesn’t think this is a positive start is an unreasonable asshole (and probably a Cardinals fan).

Enrique Bakemeyer

About Enrique Bakemeyer

Enrique is a writer and baseball enthusiast living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has been contributing to The Brewers Bar since 2013, and has previously written for Follow him on Twitter at @C_Enrique_B