Ryan Braun is once again at the center of a performance enhancing drug (PED) investigation. He was able to dodge a suspension the first time around, convincing the world that the sample was tampered with. This time around, the evidence appears more concrete, and ESPN and the New York Daily News have reported that a suspension is going to happen after the All-Star break.
The pride of the Milwaukee Brewers, and the staple at the center of their lineup appeared to be everything that was right with the sporting world during the beginning of his career. Braun stayed in Milwaukee despite the potential to earn more money by going elsewhere in free agency, think Prince Fielder for proof he could be making a ton more money somewhere else.
The ‘Hebrew Hammer’ as he became known thanks to a combination of slugging power and his religious faith, was one of the good guys in the world of sports. He was not a trash talker, stayed out of legal trouble, and put in the work needed to carry his team from perennial bottom feeder to the National League Championship Series in 2011.
Ryan Braun won the rookie of the year as well as the 2011 MVP. He is also a stand up citizen who owns a restaurant with Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Milwaukee.
On paper he has been a role model for any child who is a fan of baseball, or sports in general. He was supposed to be the new breed of MLB player, clean and respectful of the game and its rules. That’s why these allegations were so shocking when they first surfaced.
He comes off as a genuine guy, someone you want to believe is innocent. He claims the money he owes the now defunct Biogenesis is from his appeal of the first PED allegations against him.
It now appears that the ‘Hebrew Hammer’ has become the ‘Jewish Juicer.’ The allegations against him and his lack of cooperation in the investigation by keeping silent are beginning to make him appear guilty.
The 100 game suspension looming against him is going to devastate the Milwaukee Brewers and forever taint his name as well. Reports coming out make this appear more and more likely to happen after the league completes its upcoming All-Star break.
The punishment is harsh, the league is planning on bypassing its standard punishment guidelines and advancing Braun to the second level of the league’s suspension policy according to reports. “Alex Rodriquez and Ryan Braun are the names on top of the list, and are reportedly being targeted for 100 game suspensions. The rational for skipping to a second offense punishment isn’t quite airtight. They argue that prior claims by the players that they weren’t involved with performance enhancing drugs or steroids count as a first offense, while anything that Bosch reveals to the league officials will constitute another.”
His image has probably been forever tainted already as a result of his now habitual PED allegations. His identity in the eyes of fans has shifted from ‘Hebrew Hammer’ to the ‘Jewish Juicer’ and it will take years to reverse the damage that has already been done. Braun is someone I want to believe is innocent, but that appears more and more unlikely with each bit of new information.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express