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Tue., July 23, 2013, 7:56 a.m.

Really, it’s all about character

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When an arbitrator overturned Ryan Braun's PED suspension last year, the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder, and former National League MVP, talked about vindication. Now we know how he felt. Read on.

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• If you listened to me talk on the Patchin, Lukens and Osso radio show or read my commentary on this site, you know I felt last year Braun (pictured) was anything but vindicated. After reading everything I could on his failed drug test, including a description of the chain-of-evidence issues that eventually led to his suspension vacation, I was shocked an arbitrator would fall for such malarkey. After all, what Braun's attorney was arguing, that a FedEx employee hated Braun so much he kept his sample in his basement overnight just to contaminate it, seemed so ludicrous it should have been rejected immediately. But it wasn't and Braun walked. OK, fine. But then he crowed about it. And crowed about it. It made me wonder. Didn't Braun ever take history when he was attending the University of Miami? Didn't he learn about Watergate, which showed the crime is oftentimes not as heinous as the idiotic attempts to cover it up? Must not have. But one thing is clear. Braun wasn't clean. He basically admitted it with his subsequent actions. He never sued the FedEx guy, did he? Not that I could find. Never went to court where, under oath and in front of the world, Braun could have cleared his name for good. Uh, there's a reason for that. Braun was guilty. Of that, there can be no doubt. Not anymore, when he accepted a 65-game suspension yesterday after Major League Baseball presented him with all the evidence it has from the Biogenesis lab. Like Rafael Palmeiro before him, Braun's protestations of innocence, which now undermines the credibility of anyone, from Curt Schilling to Aaron Rodgers, who supported him, were as phony as his biceps. I know baseball has an agreement on punishment with its players union, but it feels as if there should have been a clause built in for scum like Braun. An extra year or so of punishment for those who drag others down into their pit of excretion. What a sleazy thing to do.

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• WSU: There is one position at which the Cougars are stronger than just about anyone in the country: kicker.

• Gonzaga: Will his redshirt year help Kyle Wiltjer as much as it did Kelly Olynyk? ... The women face a daunting non-conference schedule.

• Indians: Yes, the Indians received a grand slam from Janluis Castro yesterday and defeated the Hillsboro Hops 11-3, ending the first half of the season at 20-18. But the best piece today is John Blanchette's column on Spokane's Joe Jackson.

• Preps: The youth notebook this week is mainly about kids even younger than high school. But it has to go in some category – I have rules you know – so here it is

• Mariners: Talk about news. Sure, the M's can comment on Braun's suspension (and I really enjoyed the responses) and they can crow about a 2-1 victory over Cleveland that extended their winning streak to seven games. But what was really on their minds during and after the game was Eric Wedge's health problems. The manager was helped off the field and sent to the hospital after suffering dizzy spells. There is no word yet on how he is. ... The win came courtesy of home runs from Kendrys Morales and Mike Zunino along with great pitching from Aaron Harang (pictured) and the bullpen. ... Brad Miller was named the American League player of the week. ... Mike Morse is working his way back from injury in Tacoma.

• Sounders: It's been unofficial for a long time but now it's for sure. Fredy Montero has been loaned to Lisbon. The long-time Sounder hero won't be coming back anytime soon. ... There is a minor league of sorts for the MLS. ... The standings are not kind for Seattle.

• Seahawks: Want to go to a Hawk game? You may have waited too long to buy tickets. ... More questions for you. Will the pass rush improve and which draft class is better? ... Zach Miller could be even more important this season. ... The 49ers trade for Eric Wright fell apart.

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• Rumors abound Braun isn't the biggest name to be caught up in the Biogenesis scandal. If that's true, then let's hope the others don't try to blame the FedEx guy or their doctor or their cousin or someone. Let's hope they admit the truth and move on. But I'm not holding my breath. Until later ...




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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