Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Vote For The Death Of New Math

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation.
Your character is what you really are while your reputation
is merely what others think you are."

-John Wooden

Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers is a full-blown, self-confessed fraud.  He acknowledged as much on Monday when he cut a deal with the Lords of Discipline in MLB and accepted a suspension without pay for the remainder of the Brewers' 2013 season - 65 games - for his continued use and abuse of PEDs.  

Braun has been a cheat for at least the past three seasons.  MLB caught him red-handed in October 2011 (coincidentally as he was leading the Brewers past the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS and putting the finishing touches on a MVP season) and suspended him for 50 games.  As he is entitled to do under the CBA, Braun appealed the suspension to an arbitrator.  His lawyers argued that the result was a "false positive" and laid the blame for the result on the man who collected his urine sample.  Apparently the sample collector Dino Laurenzi, Jr. stored the sample in a refrigerator from the time he collected it on a Saturday night until he sent it to the lab for testing on Monday morning.  To save his own ass, Braun (not directly of course but through his paid mouthpiece) accused Laurenzi of tampering with the sample. 

When Braun's suspension was overturned in early 2012, he could not resist the temptation to crow about his good fortune and to wear the suit that fits him so well:  the liar's attire.  His statement - following the arbitrator's reversal of his suspension - is a must-read in light of what happened on Monday (I highlighted the most ridiculous portions of it for your convenience):

I am very pleased and relieved by today's decision.  It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.

We provided complete cooperation throughout, despite the highly unusual circumstances.

I have been an open book, willing to share details from every aspect of my life as part of this investigation, because I have nothing to hide. I have passed over 25 drug tests in my career, including at least three in the past year.

I would like to thank my family and friends, my teammates, the Brewers organization led by Mark Attanasio, Doug Melvin, Gord Ash and Ron Roenicke, and other players around the league who have expressed their support and our great fans in Milwaukee and around the country who stuck by me and did not rush to judgment.

I'd also like to offer special thanks to Michael Weiner and the Players Association for believing in me since day one and to my attorneys.

I'd like to thank my agent Nez Balelo and Terry Prince of CAA Sports and Matthew Hiltzik of Hiltzik Strategies for all of their help and counsel through the process.

This is not just about one person, but about all current and future players, and thankfully, today the process worked.

Despite the challenges of this adversarial process, I do appreciate the professionalism demonstrated by the panel chair and the office of the commissioner.

As I said before, I've always loved and had so much respect for the game of baseball.  Everything I've done in my career has been with that respect and appreciation in mind.

I look forward to finally being able to speak to the fans and the media on Friday and then returning the focus to baseball and working with my Brewers teammates on defending our National League Central title.

On Monday, when that lying f*ck threw himself on the mercy of the baseball gods, he had the unmitigated gall to characterize all that he had done and said leading up to that moment as "a mistake".  A mistake?  A mistake to say publicly - and repeatedly - that you had not cheated when you knew at the moment the words left your mouth they were not true?  A mistake to shit upon an otherwise private person - Dino Laurenzi, Jr. - and to intimate that he was incompetent, corrupt or both in the way in which he "handled" the sample that led to your positive drug test  in late 2011?  A mistake to have referred to the restoration of your "good name" and "reputation" when you have earned neither?  A mistake to have referred to yourself as "innocent" when you are a despicable coward - and worse than that - a bully who used your influence and your fame to trample upon another human being in a pathetic attempt to save your own ass?

For those of you keeping score at home - none of the above are in fact mistakes.  All of the above - straight from the mouth of the fraud himself - are lies.  He lied when he proclaimed himself innocent and denied all wrongdoing.  He lied when he blamed his "false positive" test result on Dino Laurenzi, Jr., knowing full well that the result was positive not because of how the sample had been stored but because of its contents and knowing equally well that he, not Laurenzi, was wholly responsible for the latter. 

Braun did what we the people of these United States do here in the 21st Century when confronted with our own lies and/or misdeeds:  we offer a half-assed apology.  We do so because we are secure in the knowledge that somewhere along the road to Perdition we have adopted us some "new math" where "mistake" = "lie".  They have become interchangeable concepts.  It is of course complete and total bullshit.  Ryan Braun knows it.  You know it.  I know it.  But in our heart of hearts, far too many of us accept it.  Enough already. 

What Braun did last year in his scorched-earth attack on Dino Laurenzi, Jr. was not a mistake.  It was a conscious, deliberate and vicious assault on the character of the man.   Conspicuous by its absence from his "Woe is Me" statement Monday was any mention of Laurenzi or any apology to him for what Braun said about him and what his legal team did to him.  Perhaps Braun's agent is already at work on his second public "mea culpa" - this one discussing how the failure to apologize to Laurenzi was a "mistake".  Why not? 

If something works, why not stick with it.

-AK

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