The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Okay, so here's the deal this morning. I know you've probably read Ryan Braun's (latest) official statement. But maybe not, since it's pretty long and stuff. Just in case, here's what I figured was a representative dollop of infotaining boilerplateness:
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 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.
The response, as you might guess, was prompt -- oh, and thank you Twitter for your prompt responses! -- and nearly unanimous. A representative sample ...
Made it to the 4th paragraph before the BS meter went off. "Nagging injury?"...."products?"...."mistake?".... #uncle— CJ Nitkowski (@CJNitkowski) August 22, 2013
Braun says he doped in '11 to help calf injury. Does not address why he's listed in March/April '12 records, or accusation he doped at Miami— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) August 22, 2013
Here's copy of Ryan Braun's statement. http://t.co/bNCXXIQD5S Admits he broke rules in 2011 but I see nothing on link to Biogenesis.— Phil Rogers (@ChiTribRogers) August 22, 2013
These are all perfectly reasonable reactions. I get it. It's really not likely that Ryan Braun has somehow achieved the wisdom and the humility of Gandhi in just the last year-and-a-half. But it's maybe worth mentioning that Braun (or probably his lawyers) could have written 9,044 words instead of the actual 944 words, and there would still be questions unanswered, suspicions unaddressed, wounds unsalved.
So for just a moment, I will serve as Ryan Braun's defense attorney ...
We have not, to my knowledge, seen any evidence that he was involved with Biogenesis beyond whatever originally caused him to fail the drug test in 2011. We also don't know if he was actually implicated in untoward activities in "March/April '12 records," and the doping-at-Miami accusation is merely that: an accusation, and by someone who seems to have revenge on his mind. Finally, while it's easy for a player to say he was cheating merely to recover from an injury, and now considers this a mistake, doesn't it stand to reason that there must have been, at some point, a player who did exactly those things?
Sure, the odds are against Ryan Braun actually being that player. But it's possible. We might at least acknowledge that it's possible. Still, there are those terrible things that Braun seems to have said about Dino Laurenzi. You know. The urine collector. That one still stings. Some more than others, even.
People will forgive Ryan Braun for cheating. They won't forgive him for throwing an innocent man under a bus.— jeffpearlman (@jeffpearlman) August 23, 2013
Maybe Pearlman's right. I hope he's wrong, though. What I think is probably true is that Jeff Pearlman won't ever forgive Ryan Braun. Pearlman doesn't seem like the forgiving sort, at least when it comes to millionaire athletes. Which is his prerogative. There are, after all, still people who haven't forgiven Roberto Alomar for spitting in an umpire's face. Even after the umpire himself has forgiven Alomar.
I hope the rest of us have more forgiveness in our hearts, though. I hope the rest of us can remember terrible things we've done, yet have forgiven ourselves for. What if Ryan Braun apologizes to the urine collector, and the urine collector publicly forgives Ryan Braun? If that happened, could the rest of us forgive Ryan Braun?
Nah, probably not. Then we might have to really go nuts and start forgiving the idiots who think Ben Affleck is Batman.
For so much more about Ryan Braun and his non-suspended teammates, please visit SB Nation's Brew Crew Ball.