Ryan Braun's 65-game, season-ending suspension for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Agreement is unprecedented in a lot of ways, but the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player isn't the first prominent athlete to be banished from his sport for an off-field indiscretion.
Braun's suspension, and the ensuing fan reaction, got me thinking: How bad is it, really?
American professional sports have been littered with gamblers and game-fixers, which in my book is far worse than using a performance enhancing drug.
The 1919 "Black Sox" and Pete Rose (MLB), Art Schlichter (NFL), Dan Gallinger and Billy Taylor (NHL) were all banned for life for betting for or against their teams or their sports.
Here in Wisconsin, that brings me back to the 1963 suspension of Green Bay Packers running back Paul Hornung for gambling. Initially banned for life, Hornung admitted to his wrong doings and was reinstated for the 1964 season.
Hornung is now not only a beloved Packers Hall of Famer, but is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Does time indeed heal all wounds? In 30 years will Braun have his number retired by the Brewers? Will he be in Cooperstown?
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.