"I am very pleased and relieved by today's decision. It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side."
Ryan Braun's comments after winning the appeal of his suspension February 24, 2012.
"I have acknowledged in the past I am not perfect. I realize I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed."
Ryan Braun's comments after negotiating a 65 game suspension in a plea bargain July 22, 2013
MLB has gone to great lengths to protect the integrity of the game and keep the sport clean. It has put in place an elaborate system of checks and balances to catch cheaters and keep baseball drug free. Unfortunately all of their efforts are in vain. Ryan Braun's confession proves that without a shadow of a doubt.
Even after getting off on a technicality the 2012 NL MVP continued to use performance enhancing drugs. The thought of being exposed as a fraud and completely tarnishing his image and legacy wasn't enough of a deterrent to stay clean. Taking the drugs made him a better player which led to video game like stats which led to a $105,000,000 guaranteed contract. The cause and effect is easy to follow.
Performance enhancing drugs turn average players into good players (Brett Boone), good players into great players (Rafael Palmeiro), and great players into baseball gods (Roger Clemens). With that kind of incentive baseball will never be 100% drug free. The drug dealers will continue to find ways to make their product better and so long as 9 figure contracts hang in the balance the market isn't going anywhere.
Ryan Braun is not a villain, just an opportunist. There are countless examples in society where cheaters prosper. Is he any different than Bernie Madoff, Enron, or Fannie Mae? You can limit the number of incidents with stricter laws, better testing and changing the mind set of the participants, but the results of using PED's are too dramatic to ignore. Hopefully this story didn't come as a surprise to anyone and you realize this is only the tip of the iceberg. At least this time baseball doesn't have its eyes wide shut.