It’s that time of year again, baseball season! As the weather slowly begins to warm up and the sun tries to peak through the clouds, baseball players start reporting to spring training. Baseball did not intrigue me when I was younger. Now, attending the University of Oregon has presented me with the opportunity to watch some college baseball games and I must admit, I truly enjoy the game. It took me most of my adolescent life to understand the mechanics, mental toughness and skill required to excel in baseball, but now I respect the players participating in such a skilled sport.
The sport may be exhilarating to watch, but some of the players are not always as enjoyable to listen to. Ryan Braun is a recent athlete that has lost my respect because of his unprofessional behavior. If you do not know the story, Braun plays outfield for the Milwaukee Brewers and failed a urine test in the beginning of October. The results of the drug test displayed extremely high levels of testosterone, which resulted in a punishment of a 50-game suspension for Braun starting in the 2012 season.
Braun challenged his drug test and provided enough evidence to overturn his suspension. He proved his innocence by showing that his statistics have not changed since he entered the professional level and that the test displayed levels of testosterone exceedingly higher than any other test in MLB drug testing history. The fact that the urine sample also sat in the collector’s house for two days also played in Braun’s favor. Braun presented himself as a victim to the public and the league and won his case with sufficient evidence.
But winning his case wasn’t good enough. Braun should have shut his mouth right when he was cleared to play, instead he took his situation a step further and extended the story by wrongly accusing the man who collected his urine, Dino Laurenzi Jr. If you were wrongly accused and greatly inconvenienced, why would you return the favor to someone else? A better-advised athlete would have known better. Here is my future advice to Braun and his PR adviser:
1) Stop while you are ahead (that should be obvious)!
2) Drop the issue once it is settled.
3) Don’t blame someone else; instead suggest refinements within the system.
Braun is a great player, but he could have carried himself better in this situation. It sucks, as an athlete, to be punished after you have worked so hard, but even if you are innocent, you should never personally attack others involved. You may be right about your accusation, but if you are not, you could end up really hurting someone’s reputation and making yourself look really bad.