|Braun Confronts Steroid Allegations||| Print ||
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on January 24, 2012
However, this year’s dinner -- held last Saturday -- created an even greater buzz, since NL MVP Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers had announced that he would be accepting his award in person and would make a speech.
On Dec. 10, reports surfaced that Braun had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He immediately denied the allegations and began the appeal process several days before the dinner.
Meanwhile, the public lashed out at Braun as a cheater and called for the stripping of the MVP award. It seemed as if Braun would be placed in the same category as alleged steroid users Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
Rather than hide behind the allegations, Braun has maintained his innocence, and he used the platform of the BBWAA dinner in New York City to speak about the incident publicly for the first time.
The crowd greeted Braun with welcomed applause despite the drug allegations. Braun seemed to be in good spirits all evening, though the thought of finally getting his chance to speak must have made him a bit uneasy.
Braun also made it a point to recognize the outstanding seasons of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Prince Fielder, Troy Tulowitzki and Albert Pujols, all of whom could have assumed the title of NL MVP had the writers decided to name a different winner.
He spoke for about four minutes total, and it seemed that he might completely ignore the “giant elephant in the room.” He kept naming people that he wanted to thank, but finally, in the final minute, Braun addressed his on-going situation, though he never mentioned the words “steroids” or “performance-enhancing drugs.”
“Sometimes in life, we all deal with challenges we never expected to endure,” Braun said. “We have an opportunity to look at those challenges and view them either as obstacles or as opportunities. I’ve chosen to view every challenge I’ve faced as an opportunity, and this will be no different.”
Though he could have denied the allegations while at the podium, Braun spoke in a sincere tone that showed he is passionate about clearing up this situation and get to back to playing the game he loves.
It seems the public has already jumped to conclusions with Braun, rather than waiting for the official test results to be analyzed. Though it’s difficult to argue with a failed test, maybe the results were read wrong or were mixed up with another player. It’s not an unheard of possibility.
A positive test from Braun and ensuing 50-game suspension would be a huge detriment to the game. He’s become one of the most recognizable players and was considered a good guy of the sport. If the test is actually negative, Braun’s composure and class in handling the situation will further increase his reputation as one of the game’s greats.
“I’ve always loved and have had so much respect for the game of baseball,” said Braun. “Everything I’ve done in my career has been done with that respect and appreciation in mind.”
Baseball fans can only hope that Braun is telling the truth, because if Braun is taking steroids, it’s safe to assume that many other ballplayers are still juicing -- further tainting America’s pastime.
If he does test positive and is stripped of the award, it will begin a whirlwind of stripping awards from other steroid users, creating a very sticky situation.