Point/Counterpoint: Did the MLB do enough to discipline Ryan Braun?

BY DI STAFF | JULY 30, 2013 5:00 AM

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Just Enough

Ryan Braun’s suspension was just right.

What the 65-game suspension does is erase Braun from the 2013 MLB season.

Had he faced the usual 50-game suspension for first offenders, he would have returned during the pinnacle of the playoff race. Had he faced a longer suspension, he would have returned midway through next season and brought a stain along with it.

But instead, he gets 65 games — enough to make him disappear for this season and small enough to make his return as little of a story as possible.

Truthfully, though, the suspension carries little significance in MLB’s fight against performance-enhancing drugs.

Braun won’t be losing sleep over losing $3.25 million of his salary — he’ll still make $5.25 million this year — and he certainly won’t be losing any of sleep over missing the rest of the season. He might actually look forward to it.

The Milwaukee Brewers had a 41-57 record at the time of Braun’s suspension, and Braun himself was going through one of his worst seasons in recent history with a batting average below .300 and a single-digit home-run total, albeit in only 61 games.

Where the true significance lies is what comes to mind when we think about Ryan Braun.

Cheater. Liar. Fraud.

Braun now joins the ever-growing community of players who represent everything that’s wrong with the game of baseball.

He joins the ranks of players such as Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriquez, and Mark McGwire, among others. These players are associated more with steroids than the sport they spent a majority of their lives playing.

Braun is only 29 years old (he turns 30 in November) and has plenty of playing days left. But we never looked at any other steroid user the same after they were caught. Braun joins that club, too.

— by Jacob Sheyko

Not Enough

A 65-game suspension isn’t a harsh enough penalty for a Ryan Braun.

This is a man who lied to the public after he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs at the end of his 2011 MVP season. He deceived everyone claiming that his urine sample was tampered with, causing a positive result. His first steroid bust was overturned in February 2012, and he stated that it was “the first step in restoring his good name and reputation.”

What good name and reputation? Braun represents everything that is wrong with baseball — lying, cheating, and the arrogance to think that he could get away with it. I know this was technically his first time offense, which merits a 50-game suspension, but was this really a first-time offense?

Not at all. This is Braun’s second time being linked to steroids but only his first time being punished. A hundred games without pay would’ve been a more suitable punishment for the 29-year-old slugger.

Sitting out the rest of the regular season without pay sounds like a stern penalty, but it really isn’t after looking at Braun’s contract. The Brewers’ star was scheduled to make $12 million during the 2013 season. He’s already been paid $9 million of that this season, so he’s only losing approximately $3 million by sitting out the rest of the regular season.

That’s a lot of money. Still, Braun is going to make $9 million after playing less than half a season in which he was found cheating. That’s preposterous. That’s nearly eight-times as much as the combined salaries of young superstars Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.

Braun’s actions are comparable only to Lance Armstrong’s lying and cheating ways. The 2011 MVP sacrificed the good reputation of someone else for his personal benefit. He deserves to be punished more severely — 65 games is getting off too easy.

— by Dominick White

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