Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Make an honest man out of him

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is a cheater. He took performance-enhancing drugs.

Worse, he lied about it. Repeatedly. To everyone. For the better part of 2 years, Braun lived a lie. He placed all his credibility and his team’s credibility behind what he knew to be false.

Worse still, in his egomaniacal defense, Braun cast aspersions on drug tester Dino Laurenzi, sullying the reputation of a relatively small fish who lacked the voice to defend himself. Braun’s cynicism in manipulating the public, in retrospect, is stunning. Who are you going to believe: the American-as-apple-pie ball player, the reigning MVP, the face of the franchise; or this guy?

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports channeled justified anger in August when Major League Baseball suspended Braun for 65 games and the lie was finally put to rest:

[Braun] is the guy who takes performance-enhancing drugs, gets caught, lies about it, wins and still feels it necessary to smear a completely innocent man who did his job exactly how protocol said he should. He is someone willing to lie to teammates, to fans, to everyone, building this tower of propaganda that Monday toppled all over him.

He is a cockroach. And on Monday, he went splat.

Not quite. The “cockroach” is still very much on top of the world. He’s under contract through 2020. Barring further suspension, he will make about $120 million over the next seven baseball seasons. And he just married fashion model Larisa Fraser.

One suspects Braun’s ability to uphold an oath to his wife, when he so selfishly violated the oath to his vocation. As the saying goes, “trust is the easiest thing in the world to lose, and the hardest to gain back.” Few athletes achieve such depths of public humiliation and ask for a chance at redemption, much less are given one (ahem, Lance Armstrong).

It appears the way is being prepared for just that. To us, Braun’s marriage is the clearest sign of his rehabilitation. Despite his elite status, Fraser likely would not marry him if she did not trust him, if she did not believe his apologies. She was with Braun when he went to Laurenzi’s home to apologize in person, to support him and, yes, to hold him to account. She is the right person to literally make an honest man out of him. If she can forgive him, so can others.

Best wishes to the newlyweds.

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