Everyone involved with the Milwaukee Brewers organization is hoping that the latest Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) allegations are as false as Ryan Braun claims. Braun’s been liked to the same group that supplied several MLB players including Alex Rodriguez. His name appeared on three hand written notes with dollar amounts next to his name. To Braun’s credit, he’s gotten out in front of the latest charges claiming that the charges are completely false and he paid the owner of the clinic, Anthony Bosch as an expert on PEDs for his first appeal against MLB testing.
OK, so after digesting this whole story, are we to believe that Braun is squeaky clean or there’s more to this story? The current third rail in baseball is PED usage. Considering that none of the first round of players linked to PEDs made the Hall of Fame in 2012, it isn’t a distinction any ballplayer wants to carry on their resume. However, let’s say for argument’s sake that Braun is innocent and has been wrongfully accused of using PEDs. Will that help him in the court of public perception? I think that most fans are sour to PEDs creating a real tough uphill battle for Braun. During his successful appeal, he never denied the use of PEDs but how the testing specimen was handled. Doubt was created about his character and the legitimacy of his production.
Braun responded in 2012 to the allegations and the hoopla with another strong season. He hit .319 with 41 HR and 113 RBI. There’s no doubting Braun’s abilities, but if he’s really been using PEDs, he has run out of lifelines. He may have gotten off the first time, but will there not be a second chance for redemption. So for the Brewers, they better hope that Braun is telling the truth about his ties to Bosch. While it certainly raises suspicions, everyone is entitled to his or her day in court. In Braun’s case, he has two major battles to fight and potentially win. One is the recent allegations. But the other one is in the court of public perception. Quite honestly, I am not sure if he ever has his name cleared. And if he’s honestly innocent and was wrongly accused both times, he just has to hope that people will just forget. And that is a bigger battle than anything else he’s facing (well of course if he’s guilty).