By RONALD BLUM AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – Ryan Braun stood on a spring training field and proclaimed he was innocent of using banned testosterone.
“I would bet my life,” he said back then, “that this substance never entered my body at any point.”
Seventeen months later, he accepted a 65-game suspension from baseball and admitted, “I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions.”
The 2011 National League MVP was suspended without pay for the rest of the season and the postseason Monday, the start of sanctions involving players reportedly tied to a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.
Attention quickly turned to who’s next? Will Alex Rodriguez or any of the other players tied in media reports to the Biogenesis of America clinic get disciplined and, if so, when?
“I’m pretty sure Braunie won’t be the last,” Detroit All-Star outfielder Torii Hunter said. “It’s going to be for the next 100 years, somebody’s going to try to beat the system, and as long as they keep catching guys, the system works.”
Braun, a 5-time All-Star, accepted a penalty 15 games longer than the one he avoided last year when an arbitrator overturned his positive test for elevated testosterone because the urine sample had been improperly handled.
More than a dozen players were targeted by MLB following a report by Miami New Times in January revealing relationships between Biogenesis and major leaguers. When Yahoo Sports reported in February that Braun’s name was listed in Biogenesis’ record, Braun said his lawyer had retained clinic owner Anthony Bosch as a consultant. Braun issued a statement that said “I have nothing to hide.”
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced Braun’s penalty, citing the outfielder for unspecified “violations” of both baseball’s drug program and labor contract. Braun’s ban will cost him about $3 million of his $8.5 million salary. With the Brewers in last place in the NL Central, they aren’t likely to have any playoff games for him to miss.
Ryan Braun accepts 65-game drug suspension