Tuesday, July 23, 2013

MLB Should Ban Disgraced Braun for Life

Liar. Cheater. Thief. That is who Ryan Braun is and that is how he should always be remembered.

Ryan Braun looked into the cameras and lied--boldly, repeatedly and defiantly. He swore up and down that he had never taken performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). On February 24, 2012 he declared, "I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point." Everyone Braun lied to, cheated and stole from would like to cash in that bet. Ryan also self-righteously said, "I tried to handle the entire situation with honor, with integrity, with class, with dignity and with professionalism because that's who I am and that's how I've always lived my life. If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally I'd be the first one to step up and say I did it." What a sad, twisted, narcissistic, ego-maniacal joke--only no one who has any sense or decency is laughing.

Ryan Braun cheated the game, himself, his teammates, the fans and opposing players. He participated in an extensive, illegal performance-enhancing drug program with the express purpose of outdoing honest competitors and being paid more money than his natural talents are worth.

Ryan Braun stole millions of dollars. He is no different from a bank robber who wears a ski mask and waves a gun. If Braun had not artificially enhanced his performance then he almost certainly would have made much less money, money that would have been paid to players who acquired their skills honestly and who posted legitimate statistics.

For some inexplicable reason, it suits the ideological perspective of certain economists and/or "stat gurus" to assert that steroids do not work but even if one disregards the scientific evidence that steroids and other PEDs work just apply Occam's Razor: why would so many elite athletes go to such lengths to take illegal drugs if these drugs did not significantly improve their performance and thus their earning power? That should be an argument that an economist can understand.

It should not be necessary to mention this but--for the benefit of anyone who may not know--since 1991 it has been against federal law to use steroids without a valid prescription. This is most assuredly NOT just an internal matter to be handled privately by various sports leagues; the PED cheaters are criminals.

Major League Baseball and Braun agreed upon a 65 game suspension that will cost Braun $3.85 million of his $9.61 million 2013 salary--but Braun gets to keep his tainted 2011 National League MVP and the tens of millions of dollars he has already stolen and he will still receive more than $100 million in salary from 2014 to 2021. MLB's settlement agreement with Braun is a sell out; it neither adequately punishes Braun for his egregious offense nor does it provide much of a deterrent for possible future offenders. PED cheaters now know that even if they get caught red-handed they can still make more than $100 million.

Rob Manfred, Executive Vice President, Economics & League Affairs for Major League Baseball, issued this ludicrous statement: "We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions. We all agree that it is in the best interests of the game to resolve this matter. When Ryan returns, we look forward to him making positive contributions to Major League Baseball, both on and off the field."

What Manfred should have said is something like this: "Major League Baseball will not tolerate it when players cheat the game and cheat the fans. We will act aggressively to prevent such conduct, to punish it severely when it is discovered and to strip any PED offenders of the money and awards that they received under false pretenses. There is no place in our game for cheaters."

The only surprising thing about this is that MLB did not ask Braun what day/time he would like for his suspension to begin. Perhaps there is a certain road trip he would like to make and some cities he would like to visit before he sits out the rest of the season? Actually, since so much of what MLB does is shrouded in secrecy, we cannot be sure that MLB did not in fact let Braun choose when his suspension would start.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has repeatedly fumbled the PED ball and now that ball has become a massive avalanche that has destroyed the sport's record book and its credibility. The current so-called crackdown is a farce. MLB should have stripped Braun of all of his honors, awards and records, banned him for life and taken every possible measure to force him to repay his ill-gotten salary.

Until MLB completely disassociates itself from Ryan Braun and all of the other PED liars, cheaters and thieves, the sport is a joke and a sham that cannot be taken seriously by anyone who values honest and fair competition.
Further Reading

Biogenesis Scandal Demonstrates that Bud Selig and Major League Baseball Still Have not Contained the PED Problem

Cabrera's Website is as Fake as His Artificially Enhanced Body 

Cabrera Suspension Yet Another Sign that MLB's "Steroid Era" is not Over

Two Sports Ilustrated Cover Stories Detail the Sordid Legacy of Baseball's "Steroid Era" 

The Baseball Hall of Fame Should Not Honor the Tainted Career of Ivan Rodriguez

The Ryan Braun MVP Fiasco Delivers Yet Another Black Eye to MLB

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