MILWAUKEE — Suspended Brewers slugger Ryan Braun finally released a prepared statement Thursday evening with details of his suspension and PED use.
Braun was the first player suspended in Major League Baseball’s investigation of the notorious Biogenesis clinic, accepting a season-ending 65-game suspension on July 22. The suspension including 50 games for a first-time offense under the MLB drug program and 15 additional games for violating the Basic Agreement with “detrimental conduct.”
The conduct charge stemmed from the speech he gave on Feb. 25, 2012 at Maryvale Baseball Park after winning his appeal of a positive test for elevated testosterone levels the previous October. Braun blasted the drug program as “fatally flawed” and pointed a finger at urine sample collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. — though not mentioning him by name — for possible tampering.
Since that day, Braun repeatedly denied using PEDs, even when his name surfaced early this year in the Biogenesis investigation. But MLB’s investigation uncovered enough evidence against Braun that he accepted the ban without appeal.
MLB later suspended 13 more players connected to Biogenesis, all of whom accepted their bans except Alex Rodriguez. The New York Yankees third baseman was suspended for a record 211 games through the 2014 season for multiple violations of the drug policy and Basic Agreement but appealed and can continue to play until his case is heard.
Braun had not spoken about his suspension other than the releasing a vague statement the day it was announced admitting to making “mistakes.” In that statement, Braun said, “I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed — all of the baseball fans, especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates.”
But people waited for Braun to be more specific, to give details of his PED use and to make a more genuine apology. There were hopes that he would take part in a media session in which he would take questions but he chose instead to take the first step via prepared statement.
USA Today reported last weekend that Braun was preparing his apology/admission but he waited to issue it until the Brewers left town and traveled to Cincinnati on a day off Thursday.
Here is Braun’s prepared statement in its entirety:
“Now that the initial MLB investigation is over, I want to apologize for my actions and provide a more specific account of what I did and why I deserved to be suspended. I have no one to blame but myself. I know that over the last year and a half I made some serious mistakes, both in the information I failed to share during my arbitration hearing and the comments I made to the press afterwards.
I have disappointed the people closest to me — the ones who fought for me because they truly believed me all along. I kept the truth from everyone. For a long time, I was in denial and convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong.
It is important that people understand that I did not share details of what happened with anyone until recently. My family, my teammates, the Brewers organization, my friends, agents, and advisors had no knowledge of these facts, and no one should be blamed but me. Those who put their necks out for me have been embarrassed by my behavior. I don’t have the words to express how sorry I am for that.
Here is what happened. During the latter part of the 2011 season, I was dealing with a nagging injury and I turned to products for a short period of time that I shouldn’t have used. The products were a cream and a lozenge which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation. It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately.
I deeply regret many of the things I said at the press conference after the arbitrator’s decision in February 2012. At that time, I still didn’t want to believe that I had used a banned substance. I think a combination of feeling self righteous and having a lot of unjustified anger led me to react the way I did. I felt wronged and attacked, but looking back now, I was the one who was wrong. I am beyond embarrassed that I said what I thought I needed to say to defend my clouded vision of reality. I am just starting the process of trying to understand why I responded the way I did, which I continue to regret. There is no excuse for any of this.
For too long during this process, I convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong. I was never presented with baseball’s evidence against me, but I didn’t need to be, because I knew what I had done. I realized the magnitude of my poor decisions and finally focused on dealing with the realities of-and the punishment for my actions.
I requested a second meeting with Baseball to acknowledge my violation of the drug policy and to engage in discussions about appropriate punishment for my actions. By coming forward when I did and waiving my right to appeal any sanctions that were going to be imposed, I knew I was making the correct decision and taking the first step in the right direction. It was important to me to begin my suspension immediately to minimize the burden on everyone I had so negatively affected- my teammates, the entire Brewers organization, the fans and all of MLB. There has been plenty of rumor and speculation about my situation, and I am aware that my admission may result in additional attacks and accusations from others.
I love the great game of baseball and I am very sorry for any damage done to the game. I have privately expressed my apologies to Commissioner Selig and Rob Manfred of MLB and to Michael Weiner and his staff at the Players’ Association. I’m very grateful for the support I’ve received from them. I sincerely apologize to everybody involved in the arbitration process, including the collector, Dino Laurenzi, Jr. I feel terrible that I put my teammates in a position where they were asked some very difficult and uncomfortable questions. One of my primary goals is to make amends with them.
I understand it’s a blessing and a tremendous honor to play this game at the Major League level. When it comes to both my actions and my words, I made some very serious mistakes and I can only ask for the forgiveness of everyone I let down. I will never make the same errors again and I intend to share the lessons I learned with others so they don’t repeat my mistakes. Moving forward, I want to be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem.
I support baseball’s Joint Drug Treatment and Prevention Program and the importance of cleaning up the game. What I did goes against everything I have always valued- achieving through hard work and dedication, and being honest both on and off the field. I also understand that I will now have to work very, very hard to begin to earn back people’s trust and support. I am dedicated to making amends and to earning back the trust of my teammates, the fans, the entire Brewers’ organization, my sponsors, advisors and from MLB. I am hopeful that I can earn back the trust from those who I have disappointed and those who are willing to give me the opportunity. I am deeply sorry for my actions, and I apologize to everyone who has been adversely affected by them.”