Ryan Braun spoke publicly on Wednesday for the first time since agreeing to a season-ending suspension for the use of performance enhancing drugs by Major League Baseball on July 23. The former National League Most Valuable Player was in town to help the Brewers’ charitable efforts with the Hunger Task Force in advance of Thanksgiving.
Here are some highlights from the nearly 15-minute long press conference:
Question: Ryan, why did you lie about taking drugs?
Ryan Braun: Um, obviously I’ve been through a lot and as I expressed in my statement that I felt was pretty lengthy and specific, I got into of details at that point and I’m not really going to go into any further details. I’m deeply remorseful for what happened. I wish that I had the ability to go back, change things and do things a lot differently but unfortunately I can’t do that. All I can do I move on, try and do everything in my power to earn back people’s trust, and respect and support. I don’t anticipate being able to earn back everybody’s support but I certainly intend to do everything in my power to do that and I won’t stop trying.
Q: What do you say to Little Leaguers who worshiped the ground you walked on?
RB: I’ve always been incredibly appreciative of everybody’s support. I made a mistake. A huge mistake. A mistake that has obviously been extremely difficult to deal with and will continue to be difficult to deal with and all I can say is that in making mistakes, as I’ve stated previously, we all deal with adversity, we all deal with challenges in life, any challenge you face you have an opportunity to view either as an obstacle or as an opportunity to grow from, to learn from, to help other people avoid making that same mistake and that’s what I intend to do."
Q: Was the bigger sin using the PEDs or lying about it after the fact?
RB: You know, as I’ve stated, I think the goal for me is just being able to move forward. I’m not going to get into too many specifics about what happened other than saying I’m extremely remorseful. I wish I could go back and change things but I don’t have that opportunity to do that so I’m just going to do everything in my power to move forward.
Q: Did you apologize to Dino Laurenzi or make any payments to him?
RB: I have not made any payments to him. I’ve had some really productive and positive conversations with him. The Laurenzi family was actually gracious and kind enough to have my fiancé Larisa and I over to their house for dinner last night and we had some really good conversation. We’ve made amends and I think we’re both excited to be able to move forward and put this behind us.
Q: Do you have words for Bud Selig?
RB: I did. I wrote Bud a letter, but other than that I’m not really going to get into too many specifics.
Q: Knowing that you got away with a PED positive test, what possessed you to go to Maryvale that day and say all those things you said, lie so much and then throw Dino Laurenzi under the bus, as well? What possessed you to do that?
RB: I’m not really, again, going to get into too many specifics. I wish that I hadn’t done the press conference. It was a big mistake. I deeply regret having done it and a lot of the things that I said day. But again, all I can do I move forward and in an effort to do that I’m not going to get into too many specifics. I really don’t think that it does anything too positive or productive for me, for the team, for the game of baseball or anybody else. In an effort to move forward I’m not going to discuss that stuff.
Q: What do you think the fan response will be?
RB: Everywhere I’ve been people have been incredibly supportive and I’m extremely appreciate of that. I don’t really know what to expect but again everybody has been extremely supportive and I really appreciate that.
Q: Why have you waited so long to come forward to talk?
RB: I’ve actually been in town a few times. I don’t do the Twitter of Facebook or any of that stuff to alert everybody that I’m here. I think today was just kind of an opportunity that obviously we understood that there would be some media here, so I wanted the opportunity to speak to you guys. It wasn’t about waiting or anything like that. Like I said, I’ve been here a few times. I think this is the first time that everybody’s been aware that I’m here.
Q: But you took off and your teammates had to answer for you – why did you wait this long to come forward?
RB: I think, because it was an ongoing investigation, I wasn’t really allowed to say very much at that time, basically, based on what I had learned from both Major League Baseball and the players association it wasn’t in anybody’s best interests for me to make any statements at that time.
Q: Are there any positives to take away from this experience?
RB: I think there is something positive that can come from everything. At all times I try to see the good in everything. Things aren’t always good but I do see the good in everything and it’s an opportunity for me to use my experience and the mistakes that I’ve made to help other people from making the same mistakes. I certainly have plans to do everything in my power to turn this bad situation into a good thing, into a positive and to help other people along the way avoid making these mistakes.
Q: What was the injury that you referenced in your statement that caused you to take PEDs?
RB: Again I’m not going to get into specifics and continue to go backward. I’m moving forward. I’m not going to too many of the specifics about that stuff.
Q: Don’t you owe everybody to talk about what happened?
RB: Yeah, I completely understand, respect, where you guys are coming from and the fact that a part of your job is to ask those questions, but I hope that you guys can also understand and respect the fact that in an effort to move forward I’m just not going got continue to discuss that stuff.
Q: How has this affected your relationship with Aaron Rodgers?
RB: I’m not going to get into our specific relationship other than to say that he’s been a great friend of mine for a long time, he’s a great person and I hope that he gets back on the field to help those guys win some games.
Q: Will you be play at same level as you were with PEDs?
RB: Yeah, I think I’ll be better. I should be better.
Q: Does this revelation invalidate the 2011 MVP?
RB: Like I said, I’m just continuing to move forward, I think that’s all I can do. I’m not going to go back and continue to discuss the things that have happened in the past. And I feel like in an effort to do that I’m not going to discuss that stuff.
Q: With your contract, you were made the face of franchise, an image now tarnished, are you willing to reopen your contract rand renegotiate at a lower price since your value as poster boy has been diminished?
RB: The brewers have been incredibly supportive. The entire organization. My teammates, everybody has been incredibly supportive. I can’t thank Mark Attanasio enough for his support. I fully intend to do everything in my power to be the best player and person that I can be moving forward.
Q: Two years ago you had said the testing process was fatally flawed – do you still feel that way?
RB: Like I said, I greatly regret having done that press conference at all and my opinion on a lot of things have definitely changed.
Q: What do your regret the most?
RB: Obviously the whole thing is a huge regret. It was a huge mistake. I wish that I hadn’t done it. I wish I could go back and do a lot things different. I don’t think I can specifically pinpoint one thing that I regret more than anything else – I regret all of it. I wish I could go back and change it but like I said, I can’t do that.
Q: Would you welcome a fresh start in another city or do you want to play here?
RB: No, I absolutely want to stay here. I made the long-term commitment because the city’s been amazing to me, the fans have been amazing to me, the organization has been incredibly supportive of me and I fully intend to stay here. Obviously it’s flattering that people would be interested. I actually had lunch with Doug Melvin, Ron (Roenicke) and Mark Attanasio last week and I’ve seen Mark a lot and I don’t think there’s any truth to those rumors. But my goal and my intention is certainly to stay here.
Q: What do you think your relationship with your teammates will be like?
RB: I think it’ll be great. I’ve been back here a couple times after the suspension and everybody was incredibly supportive. I don’t anticipate any issues there.
Q: Can you tell us more about your dinner with the Laurenzi family?
RB: I’m not really going to get into too many details other than say that it was an incredible experience. They’re really special people and I appreciate them giving me the opportunity to go to their house and have a conversation in person.
Q: This was with Dino himself, not the father?
RB: Yes, correct.
Q: Does it make you wish you never said the things you said about him?
RB: Yeah, I mean I wish that I could change it. I wish that I had never had said anything about him I wish I knew more at the time that I had said what I said. But he was a really special person. His family is really a special group of people.
Q: What do you say to your fans who have supported you?
RB: I’ve always been incredibly appreciative of everybody’s support. I would say I made a mistake, a huge mistake and that all I can intend to do is try to find some positive to some from a difficult situation.
Q: How do you feel about your restaurant closing and the names of the others changing?
RB: Obviously there was a lot of fallout from everything that I’ve been through. I have a real good relationship with the SURG Group, with Omar (Shaikh) and Mikey (Polaski). They’re great guys. Our relationship won’t be changed, but obviously in light of everything that occurred, there was definitely some fallout.
Q: What do you say to kids who see that you can cheat to get ahead?
RB: I hope that people can recognize what I’ve been through and not want to go through that same experience. It’s been a lot. It’s been really difficult. It’s been really challenging. I would never wish this situation upon anybody and I hope that people can view my situation as a learning experience and something that they should try to avoid.
Q: What do you say to people who doubt your ability as a baseball player, and think it was chemically manufactured?
RB: Again, I focus on the things that I can control. I’m going to continue to try to be the best person I can be, the best player I can be. I fully intend to be at least as good as I’ve been to this point in my career and hopefully I continue to get better. But I only focus on the things that I can control. I can’t control what people say or thin.
This is my fault. I take full responsibility for my actions. I put myself in this position and people have the opportunity I say whatever they want but I’ll just focus on the things I can control.