Ryan Braun: A Cheater, A Liar, and a Fake Apologizer
What’s worse, a cheater or a liar? How about a *cheating liar*? Can you be one without the other? After considering the shocking developments of the last 24 hours with Ryan Braun’s pathetic demise, I’ve settled on this: Cheaters aren’t as bad as liars. Obviously, there needs to be context attached to any situation involving cheating and/or lying. Have any of you ever lied about something? Ever cheated before? At anything? Have you ever kicked your golf ball a few inches to the left to avoid a tree? Ever looked down to see an adjacent poker player not properly covering his cards? Cheating. It happens.
Narrowing it down to Ryan Braun as the context, I can accept the fact that Braun cheated. Lots of baseball players cheat. It’s been happening since the beginning of the game whether it was amphetamines, corked bats, spitballs, sandpaper, vasoline, or stealing signs, cheating has always been part of the game. Steroids, for whatever reason, is the one form of cheating that seems to enrage fans the most. It probably has something to do with the amount of money the players make after turning their bodies into human buildings. The fact that some of baseball’s most hallowed records have been broken by cheaters also fuels the fury. It’s somewhat amusing that those same fans don’t bother to consider the distinct possibility that the players setting those original records were probably cheating, in some form, themselves. It’s what baseball players do.
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 does this sound like an apology to you:
“As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.”
He apologized for NOTHING in this *official Ryan Braun 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?
Here’s what his clueless owner, Mark Attanasio, said about Braun’s statement:
“We are disappointed with the news today of the suspension of Ryan Braun and his admitted mistakes. It’s clear that Ryan used bad judgment, but we accept his apology and believe that he should be given the opportunity to redeem himself.”
So Attanasio accepts Braun’s apology for *maybe* disappointing some people? Uh, Mark, why are you accepting his apology? How do you know he was apologizing to you and what specifically was he apologizing for? I guess Attanasio feels comfortable lumping himself into the group of “some people.” What a joke.
I’m not a Brewers fan obviously and I don’t really care if Braun comes back with an actual apology or not. He doesn’t owe me an apology. But he need to apologize to everyone who believed in him, everyone who trusted him, everyone who looked up to him. He needs to apologize for the specific things he actually DID. Until he does that, “this matter” that he refers to isn’t going away, and the only thing that’s now truly *behind* him is the shadow of his all lies…..