Disgraced slugger Ryan Braun admitted on Thursday for the first time that he used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) during his 2011 Most Valuable Player season, including an illegal cream and a lozenge.
The Milwaukee Brewers player, who was suspended late last month for the remainder of the season after a Major League Baseball (MLB) probe of the Biogenesis clinic in Florida, apologized, but said he justified the drug use to himself at the time because he was trying to heal from an injury.
“During the latter part of the 2011 season, I was dealing with a nagging injury and I turned to products for a short period of time that I shouldn’t have used,” Braun said in a statement published on the Brewers’ Web site.
“The products were a cream and a lozenge, which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation. It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately,” Braun said in a rambling 944-word statement released by the Major League Baseball team.
Braun was previously hit with a 50-game suspension in late 2011, but he was able to get it overturned in February last year. He tested positive for elevated testosterone levels, but won the appeal on a technicality when he challenged how the test samples were stored.
At the time, Braun vehemently denied using PEDs and launched a public attack on the lab worker who handled the sample.
Braun also apologized to the collector of his sample, Dino Laurenzi on Thursday.
“I deeply regret many of the things I said at the press conference after the arbitrator’s decision in February 2012,” he said. “At that time, I still didn’t want to believe that I had used a banned substance. I think a combination of feeling self righteous and having a lot of unjustified anger led me to react the way I did. I felt wronged and attacked, but looking back now, I was the one who was wrong.”
Braun said he was now in the process of trying to understand why he responded the way he did, acknowledging there was no excuse for it.
“For too long during this process, I convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong. 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. I realized the magnitude of my poor decisions and finally focused on dealing with the realities of — and the punishment for — my actions,” he said.
Braun did not say what type of performance-enhancing drugs he admits to using, just calling it a “cream.”
Braun’s apology did not go over well with a lot of athletes, including former Oakland Athletic pitcher Mark Mulder who called it orchestrated and lacking in even the basic details.
“It is so set up,” Mulder said. “He needs to have a press conference, but he won’t. If he was asked about previous years he is not going to want to lie about that. He’s eventually going to be reinstated and then he is going to say ‘it is in the past.’”
Others said the apology was a long time coming and even then it fell well short of sounding sincere.
“Vast majority @MLB players are clean & want game to be PED free. I’m sick of cheaters acting like it was an accident or 1 time injury cure,” former Kansas City Royal Mark Teahen said on his Twitter page.