Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Braun: Perspective from a (Former) Supporter

When yesterday's news of Ryan Braun's suspension came down my initial reaction was no surprise, but learning that Ryan would not be appealing, admitting his guilt, I was shocked. As someone who drank the Kool-Aid of Braun's innocence through his appeal victory in February 2012 and even through all the Biogenesis stories, it felt like a slap in the face.

The argument can be made that as a Brewers fan I was ignorant and blind to the facts of his case, and the results of yesterday should have come as no surprise. I won't argue against that because for the most part it is true, but I think any invested fan in a sports franchise and its star performer would react the same way to such allegations and stories about their #1 player. If allegations were targeted towards a player like Evan Longoria or Joe Mauer, those fan bases and the majority of their fans would stand by their players till the admission of guilt happened.  We, as fans, want to believe in our star players, especially when they've shown high character. In this era of sports, I guess I should have known better.

What's the fallout from this situation? Braun blatantly lied to fans and supporters and even threw some people under the bus in the process. That is a difficult series of events to forgive someone for and it will take time and remorseful actions for Ryan to repair his image and the way others feel about him. Time will only be able to tell how long those repairs will take, and Ryan needs to be active in the next three months in orchestrating ways to apologize and show others he is in fact sorry. When the 2014 baseball season rolls around he'll be welcomed back as an important part of the Brewers' lineup, but I can promise there will be hesitancy towards his character and the person he is off the field. The cloud will always hover over him, what kind of storm it brings will be the mystery.

Milwaukee hitched its franchise on Ryan Braun and stood by him during the whole process to only be left lied to and disappointed (understatement). Doug Melvin and Company need to decide if Ryan Braun is the guy you want being the face of the franchise moving forward and whether the baggage is all worth it.