At long last, a confession of sorts from Ryan Braun
Former MVP admits taking banned substances, but doesn't reveal who provided them, what they were or if he knew they were tainted
Ryan Braun has finally admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs - but his confession is missing several key details.
A month after suddenly abandoning his claims of innocence and accepting a 65-game suspension from Major League Baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers slugger admitted he took a cream and a lozenge containing banned substances while rehabilitating an injury during his 2011 NL MVP season.
In a statement released by the Brewers, Braun took responsibility for his actions. He also apologised to many people, including the sample collector he castigated after an arbitrator overturned the outfielder's suspension from a 2011 positive test.
"I have no one to blame but myself. I know that over the last year and a half I made some serious mistakes, both in the information I failed to share during my arbitration hearing and the comments I made to the press afterwards," Braun said. "I have disappointed the people closest to me."
Still, the five-time All-Star's lengthy act of self-reproach doesn't say who gave him the PEDs or where they came from; he doesn't reveal the banned substance in the products; he doesn't say if he knew the cream and lozenge were tainted at the time he took them.
"To me, it doesn't really matter what they say. Let's lay down the penalties and move on," San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
On July 22, Braun agreed to a suspension resulting from Major League Baseball's investigation of the now-closed Biogenesis of America anti-ageing clinic, which was accused of providing banned substances to players.
At that time he acknowledged only that he made "mistakes," leaving people, including Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, wanting more.
Still tied to Milwaukee for at least seven more years and US$117 million (HK950), Braun also sent a separate letter of apology to Brewers fans.
Braun was the first of 14 players disciplined this year as a result of the Biogenesis probe. Twelve accepted 50-game penalties, including a trio of All-Stars: Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz, Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta and San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is appealing his 211-game penalty, assessed for violations of the drug program and labour contract. In his initial meeting with MLB investigators to discuss Biogenesis, Braun declined to answer questions. But in the statement, he said he initiated a second session with MLB during which he admitted his guilt and began discussing a penalty.
"After my interview with MLB in late June of this year, I came to the realization that it was time to come to grips with the truth," Braun said.
"I was never presented with baseball's evidence against me, but I didn't need to be, because I knew what I had done."
Braun's urine tested positive for elevated testosterone from a sample collected on Saturday, October 1, 2011, after Milwaukee's NL division series opener against Arizona.
The drug collector, Dino Laurenzi Jnr, stored the samples from Braun and two other players at home and dropped them off at a Federal Express office on the Monday, rather than send them immediately, as specified in baseball's drug collection rules.
The players' association argued that the specimen was handled improperly, and arbitrator Shyam Das overturned the discipline on February 23 last year.
During a news conference the following day on the field at Milwaukee's spring training stadium in Phoenix, Braun proclaimed he had been vindicated and questioned Laurenzi's methods. A week later Braun's lawyer criticized Laurenzi when the collector defended himself.
After he accepted his suspension - 50 games for the drug infraction and 15 games for his conduct at the time of the grievance - Braun was heavily criticised by players around the major leagues.
"I thought this whole thing has been despicable on his part," Detroit pitcher Max Scherzer said then. "When he did get caught, he never came clean. He tried to question the ability of the collector when he was caught red-handed. So that's why the whole Braun situation, there is so much player outrage toward him."