Ryan Braun finally said it: He took performance-enhancing drugs.
A month after suddenly abandoning his claims of innocence and accepting a 65-game suspension from Major League Baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers slugger admitted he took a cream and a lozenge containing banned substances while rehabilitating an injury during his 2011 NL MVP season.
In a statement released by the Brewers on Thursday night, Braun took responsibility for his actions. He also apologized to many people, including the sample collector he castigated after an arbitrator overturned the outfielder’s suspension from a 2011 positive test.
“I have no one to blame but myself. I know that over the last year and a half I made some serious mistakes, both in the information I failed to share during my arbitration hearing and the comments I made to the press afterwards,” Braun said. “I have disappointed the people closest to me.”
Still, his lengthy act of self-reproach was missing several key details. Among them: The five-time All-Star doesn’t say who gave him the PEDs or where they came from; he doesn’t reveal the banned substance in the products; he doesn’t say if he knew the cream and lozenge were tainted at the time he took them.
For now, the apology will have to do.
“To me, it doesn’t really matter what they say. Let’s lay down the penalties and move on,” San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
On July 22, Braun agreed to a suspension resulting from Major League Baseball’s investigation of the now-closed Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic, which was accused of providing banned substances to players.
At that time he acknowledged only that he made “mistakes,” leaving people, including Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, wanting more.
He laid out his story Thursday: “Here is what happened,” the statement says.
Braun was the first of 14 players disciplined this year as a result of the Biogenesis probe. Twelve accepted 50-game penalties, including a trio of All-Stars: Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz, Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta and San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is appealing his 211-game penalty, assessed for violations of the drug program and labor contract.
In his initial meeting with MLB investigators to discuss Biogenesis, Braun declined to answer questions. But in the statement, he said he initiated a second session with MLB during which he admitted his guilt and began discussing a penalty.
“After my interview with MLB in late June of this year, I came to the realization that it was time to come to grips with the truth,” Braun said. “I was never presented with baseball’s evidence against me, but I didn’t need to be, because I knew what I had done.”