Thursday, December 15, 2011

No Rush to Judgment on Braun

Ryan Braun is the quintessential good guy in sports. It also doesn't hurt that he is a good looking guy too. People seem to like him and as far as his character has been displayed on and off the field he has always been thought of to be a class act. So when news broke last weekend that Braun had failed MLB's drug test, the whole baseball community was in shock. When it happened to A-Rod I think people believed he did it, but didn't want to. Manny Rameriz faced a similar reaction. People just wanted them to be clean for the sake of the game. However, I think the reaction afforded Braun is less judgmental and leaning towards the idea that this must be a mistake. I think the public and even the often news hungry, quick to crucify media have all stood back in the days after the news broke to press pause and wait for Braun's side of the story to come out through the appeals process. This is how stories like this should be handled, but often it isn't. Our society is usually quick to judge, but for some reason Braun gets some room to say listen first. Perhaps it's his accolades that make us respect his position more - he is the reigning NL MVP. Or perhaps its the way he handles himself on and off the field that makes the public and media' pause. He handled Jose Reyes' bunt and exit to win the NL batting title like a true professional when everyone else complained. As for off the field, it has been said that is does a lot for the community. Looking at both these reasons, it seems as if the latter reason would be the prevailing reason the public and media are giving Braun some time to be heard. A-Rod and Ramirez were both stellar baseball players, but their attitudes and even some of their actions were not looked upon favorably.

Time will tell though as the appeal process goes on as to whether Braun failed the drug test. Although, even a failed test isn't indicative of any intentional wrong doing. Perhaps he took something with a banned substance in it without knowing. Unfortunately, this isn't a defense unless what he took happens to the be on the very specific list of items deemed to be safe by MLB for players to use. It's unfortunate whatever the result is, for Braun will always have to answer questions for the rest of his playing career about this matter. Also, it's unfortunate for this team because they may lose the superstar they just invested a lot of money in for 50 games. And it's unfortunate for the sport deemed to be America's Past Time because it yet again takes a hit concerning cleaning up the game and its end product - talent and competition.

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