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Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Ryan Braun's wrong turn

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

Once again Major League Baseball has a black eye. The Ryan Braun situation has me ill.

I have been a longtime fan of baseball, and my family has season tickets for the Tampa Bay Rays. All I ask is for players to play hard, the right way, with a lot of passion and pride. Play the game without lying or cheating. Go out there with integrity.

I was sick to my stomach watching clips on "SportsCenter" with Braun's interviews from last year. He spoke about his integrity, talked about his positive PED test and even blamed the individual responsible for handling the sample.

It was a bunch of lies.

The bottom line is that Braun said he could not cheat the game of baseball.

Oh really?

Now the truth has come out. Braun cheated baseball, fans, fellow players and the media.

Baseball gave him a chance and he took the easy way out. He is suspended for the rest of this season because he did not fight any more. Why? Because the evidence was overwhelming.

Braun has a lengthy contract which will pay him $117 million once he returns to the diamond. In effect, he said he will take his penalty and then will run to the bank and take the cash, baby!

If I was a Milwaukee Brewers fan, I would say, FORGET IT! How do you cheer for a guy who cheats and lies? How do you sit there and be proud that he is wearing your uniform? What about all the people who accused him of cheating, and he looked them in the eye and lied?

Braun was supposed to be a hero. He gave his autograph and people admired him. He was an MVP. Now, he will never be able to regain his reputation.

The NL should take away his MVP award and give it to Matt Kemp.

Do I believe in second chances in life? Absolutely. You should get a second opportunity in life, but not in baseball.

Braun should be banned for life. MLB should send a message loud and clear that if you are going to cheat, and hurt the game that so many people put their hard work and dollars into, we don't want you.

The game will go on, and it is bigger than Braun.

Now, the question is, what's next for others reportedly on that Biogenesis target list? What happens to Alex Rodriguez? That will be intriguing.

If he was banned for life, how would the New York Yankees feel? The weight of the pocketbook would be a lot lighter, that is for sure. He would not get a dime while suspended.

Do you think his people are negotiating a deal so that he could come back next year? Time will tell.

It is really sad.

Give me the days of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. They did it the right way.

There are many guys out there now that do it the right way. They should be angry about this situation.

If I was a Brewers fan, I would never spend another dime to see Braun putting that uniform on.