July 28, 2013 in Sports

No slack for devious Braun

A Grip On Sports
 
Associated Press photo

Ryan Braun’s past claims undermine credibility of supporters like Aaron Rodgers, left.
(Full-size photo)

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Vince Grippi has an opinion about everything local, especially sports. Every Sunday we provide samples of his daily riffs. Read him daily at spokesman.com/sportslink.

Tuesday: 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.

Last year, I felt Braun 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.

Friday:  Like a lot of things in sports, the coming of the 24/7 news cycle on cable and the Internet has changed the public’s perception of college football media days. But it wasn’t until Larry Scott took over as the Pac-12 commissioner the conference really embraced the change.

So now the conference makes a huge deal out of it. Good for the Pac-12. After all, its media day is the unofficial kickoff to the football season, so why not celebrate?

After a summer of mostly negative or non-news news, it’s about time to get back to talking about things that really matter, like who will be Arizona’s second-string tailback and why USC’s punt-team gunners are better than those at Oregon State. You know, the minutia that makes college football so much fun. That’s the focal point of media day.

Thursday: The biggest news concerned (Mariners) manager Eric Wedge, hospitalized a couple days before with dizzy spells. It turns out the 45-year-old Wedge had  suffered a stroke, albeit a minor one according to an M’s press release.

The  health of their manager, piled on to the news the team’s third-base coach, Jeff Datz, is battling cancer, has to be causing  consternation in the Mariners’ clubhouse.

Such medical news is unusual in professional sports. Sure, there are always competitive injuries, things like blown out shoulders and torn up knees. Life and death stuff? That usually stays away until players retire.

I’m not in the clubhouse, but I have to believe the mood is pretty somber. The guys must be a bit on pins and needles. Which makes yesterday’s blowout loss pretty easy to understand.

It’s not easy to focus on the task at hand. It’s another challenge in what’s turning out to be a challenging season for the team. But time has a way of dulling the impact, allowing things to return to normal. As each day passes, expect the M’s to deal with the news better.


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