Ryan Braun leaves behind a complicated baseball legacy

  • Covers MLB for ESPN.com
  • Former deputy editor of Page 2
  • Been with ESPN.com since 1995

Ryan Braun’s greatest performance came on February 24, 2012. The reigning MVP, who had tested positive for elevated testosterone the previous October, stood in front of the cameras at the Milwaukee Brewers’ spring training facility and declared, with his teammates sitting in uniform behind him, that “my name has been dragged through the mud.”

Braun delivered a virtuoso, Academy Award-quality speech. At the time, he had won his appeal of a 50-game suspension and said, with firmness and anger in his eyes, “Today is for everybody who has been wrongly accused. The simple truth is that I’m innocent. The truth is always relevant and the truth prevailed.”

The next season, we learned it was a big lie, one that had gone so far to see Braun accusing Dino Laurenzi Jr., the drug sample collector, of tampering with Braun’s initial sample. In August of 2013, MLB suspended Braun for the rest of the season — 65 games –, making him the first player suspended in MLB’s investigation of the Biogenesis lab. Braun admitted to PED use in the 2011 season, saying he had used substances to recover more quickly from a calf injury.

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