bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Ryan Braun goes down in flames

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Oh, Ryan Braun. We tried so hard to believe in you. We allowed ourselves to consider that maybe the mishandling of your positive test for PEDs last year led to a positive test when you were not actually guilty of taking anything illicit. I, for one, feel really dopey here. For those of you not in the know, Braun, the slugger and former league MVP who roams the outfield for the Milwaukee Brewers, was suspended for the rest of the season this week as part of a deal he struck with Major League Baseball for violations of the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs.

Braun is 29 years old and has been in the league for nearly seven seasons. He has a career batting average of .312 and has hit 211 homeruns. He was Rookie of the Year in 2007, has made four all-star games, and won the National League MVP award in 2011. He is a great fielder as well as a fantastic hitter. The first revelation of wrongdoing came after the 2011 season, when it was reported that Braun had failed a test a couple of months earlier. He appealed and actually managed to win the appeal after it was revealed that the person handling his sample had mishandled it. Enough doubt was added to the equation to negate the suspension that was coming until that point.

Earlier this year, it became public knowledge that a lab in Miami called Biogenesis had supplied a number of professional athletes with PEDs over a number of years. Braun’s name appeared in the lab’s records several times. As the investigation deepened, it was reported that Braun was facing as much as a 100 game suspension for his transgressions, particularly in light of the previous failed test and the number of times he had apparently lied to investigators. This deal that he struck with the league actually amounts to just 65 games, helping him avoid the longer suspension and allowing him to start next season as an active player. He faces quite an uphill battle, as far as the response he is likely to get from fans around the league as well as those in Milwaukee who justifiably feel betrayed and lied to by Braun. His teammates can’t be thrilled about this either. Whatever chance he had of eventually being in the Hall of Fame is gone, and his legacy is forever tarnished. High profile defenders like Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers quarterback who is a good friend of his, have been forced to distance themselves from him.

Of course, there are always contrarians. Sales of Braun merchandise have increased this week at Miller Park in Milwaukee, proving that it’s impossible to overestimate the stupidity of the average baseball fan.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Denver Broncos star linebacker Von Miller will also be suspended for a portion of the coming season due to a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. It sounds like he did not actually fail a drug test, but he was in the league’s program for former offenders, having tested positive for marijuana a couple of seasons back, and people in that program have very specific schedules to follow involving counseling sessions and tests. He may have missed something there.

3) Alex Rodriguez is another person whose name appeared during the Biogenesis investigation. He had acknowledged using PEDs earlier in his career after his name came up during the BALCO investigation that implicated a large number of players. He has not yet been suspended, but his prickly relationship with the Yankees organization and fans became even more difficult this week. He is currently on a rehab assignment after off-season surgery, and decided to have his own doctor declare him ready to go, despite the fact that team doctors have not yet cleared him. As you might expect, the team did not appreciate that too much.

4) Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson broke his ankle on Wednesday when Eric Young Jr. of the Mets stepped on his foot while he was covering first base to catch a throw from first baseman Freddie Freeman.

5) Tarell Brown, a cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers, could have been $2 million richer than he is right now if had bothered to read his contract. He skipped the team’s offseason workouts, choosing to handle it on his own, and that was an expensive decision, based on a clause in his deal that guaranteed him a large bonus if he attended the team’s program. He fired his agent this week after discovering the problem, but I think he needs to look in the mirror on this one.

6) A soccer game at Walt Disney World between kids from Orlando and kids from Miami ended in a massive fight that also involved a bunch of adult family members and spectators last week. The fight was reportedly started by players from the Miami team after they lost.

7) Carlos Hyde, a running back for Ohio State, was suspended indefinitely this week after it was reported that he had punched a woman in the face at a Columbus bar.

8) After disagreeing with some strike calls by umpire Tim Timmons, David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox smashed a dugout phone with his bat. He was then ejected from the game.

Good sports:

1) Golfer Russell Knox, who plays on the tour, shot a 59 on Friday during the Boise Open. He only finished 12th for the tournament, however, losing to eventual winner Kevin Tway by four strokes.

2) Jonathan Willard, a defensive back who signed with the Tennessee Titans after going undrafted this year, saved a family from a burning car on Interstate 40 between Nashville and Knoxville on Tuesday.

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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