The now convalescing Ryan Braun has some serious explaining to do from his beach home in Malibu. He owes the truth to Brewers' ownership, its front office, the coaches and his teammates.
Does he owe anything to the fans or the media? Sadly, no.
A real statement – not the typical Braun interview nonsense laden with clichés – would be the right thing to do.
But as much as we all like to play this card when angry, we don't pay Braun's paycheck. Mark Attanasio and his ownership does. That group is the one who should be demanding answers.
Of course, fans fill seats, but Braun’s paycheck comes from a lot more factors than that. Brewers attendance is part of it, but so is TV licensing, revenue sharing, sponsorships and advertising, and of course, the owners’ pockets.
That shouldn’t take anything away from your outrage, however, but look where we stand:
The early outpouring of anger seems to stem from the fact that people perceive Braun to now admit he took performance-enhancing drugs. But nowhere in that statement he actually say that. He just said mistakes were made. It seems he didn’t reveal much more to his teammates, either.
It was a tepid mea culpa, at best.
My hunch is that the suspension was a plea bargain of sorts. A plea-bargaining in which Braun stopped denying he played any part in any wrongdoing, but one in which he did not have to admit specifically breaking baseball's PED rules.
And if that's true, we can expect a whole lot more coy riddles from Braun, talking about how the whole story will never come out, and how the truth is different than what people think it is, and that will go on and on forever. And most of us will never be truly satisfied. Braun will say he can't talk anymore about it and wants to move onto the next question. And no one will believe him.
Not good enough for you as a fan? Certainly stop telling your kids that a guy who hits a ball for a living is an automatic role model.
Still not good enough? Then do what you gotta do. Don't buy a Ryan Braun jersey. Stop going to Brewers games. Stop watching them on TV. Switch your loyalty to the Cubs.
Or, more realistically, realize that there are a lot of baseball players doing a lot of bad things in the sport, and it has been going on for longer than any of us can remember. Braun just got caught, then caught in a lie. No, it doesn't make it better, but don't expect Tiger Woods like confession and teary press conference from No. 8.
But should Braun apologize to fans? That largely depends on his ego. He certainly doesn’t need the income from endorsements. He’s not going bankrupt whether or not you visit his restaurants.
However, he cares what we think. He cares what baseball thinks. A friend in Milwaukee TV sports told me that Braun once announced in a private conversation that he doesn’t just want to be great, he wants to be "historically great." That sounds to me like someone who cares.
It’s your move, Brauny.
For now, the disgraced MVP sits the doghouse now with fans, players, coaches, management and the media. Even if he says nothing, all this will pass – at least somewhat – once he takes the field in Maryvale next spring, completely physically healed and ready to play with a vengeance.
Will it be enough for you? You say no right now, I know. But when the Brewers are winning again, I’m not so sure.
Andy is the founder and co-owner of OnMilwaukee.com. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.