While most of the national media decided to rip apart Milwaukee Brewers fans for giving Ryan Braun a standing ovation on Opening Day, one of his teammates, someone personally lied to by the 2011 NL MVP, thought it “showed a lot of character and their support.”
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who might be the face of the Brewers after Braun’s fall, joined Bill Michaels on SportsRadio 1250 WSSP the day after Milwaukee’s opener and expressed his feelings regarding the fans’ reaction:
“Honestly, I was very, very proud yesterday (Monday) to see that and call myself a Milwaukee Brewer because of the character of our fans.”
While the Crew’s catcher is clearly past Braun’s PED past and lies to avoid punishment, folks like Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan were standing on their moral soapboxes via Twitter on Monday and throughout the week:
Standing ovation for Ryan Braun in Milwaukee is about the least surprising thing on Opening Day. Great message. Lie and we love you anyway.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 31, 2014
Passan wasn’t done with Braun on Wednesday afternoon, engaging with Mitch Nelles from 540 ESPN in Milwaukee about the subject of cheering for the Brewers’ right fielder. I was also included in the Twitter conversation. While Nelles wondered if Passan slammed guys like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, I asked about the love affair for Jason Giambi after he failed to apologize for anything specific after testifying that he used steroids.
His issue isn’t with Braun cheating, but instead with the lying to friends and teammates and throwing Dino Laurenzi under the bus. Since he made it an off-field issue, I asked if he treated athletes the same way after they commit worse crimes. I’m still waiting for a response.
The point is, everybody wants to share their two cents on this whole subject, but there are many layers to peel back. If Passan has a problem with Braun, that’s his prerogative. I’m sure even hardcore Braun supporters agree he acted poorly.
However, to go after the Brewers fans because they’re showing support for their guy is really not his place. You can support him like you would a member of your family without condoning the bad behavior. If he does something similar again, then there are no more chances.
The media has lots of great purposes, but telling others how stupid they are or isn’t one of them. Brewers fans have Lucroy on their side, and that means a whole lot more than the national media that likes to wax poetic despite their own hypocritical values, thoughts and actions.
This all comes back to an individual whose opinion actually matters — Lucroy. I’m sure he was hurt and offended by Braun’s actions (unlike fans or the media), and he’s still in the All-Star’s corner. Why shouldn’t the Brewers faithful join him?