Commentary

Hey, Ryan Braun: Show your face!

Statement not enough from disgraced Brewer who cheated, lied and hurt others

Updated: August 23, 2013, 9:18 PM ET
By Stephen A. Smith | ESPNNewYork.com

We've seen rats like Jose Canseco tarnish America's national pastime. We've witnessed the cowardice of Mark McGwire before Congress. There has also been the brazen Barry Bonds, the deceitful Melky Cabrera and the inexplicable Alex Rodriguez.

And then there's Ryan Braun.

An individual so pathetic, so pathological in his lies that Major League Baseball should be embarrassed and ashamed for letting Braun walk away with just a 65-game suspension that should be looked upon as nothing more than a vacation.

Just weeks after getting suspended, issuing a statement and leaving his teammates and the Milwaukee Brewers organization dangling in front of a media horde while he skipped town, Braun offered a mea culpa on Thursday ... via statement, of course.

Braun still hasn't been seen. His voice has not been heard. All we have are his words -- words that were devoid of vivid, extensive explanations as to how he could be as bold as he was toward MLB, and so vicious in bringing into question the credibility and reputation of some poor urine-sample collector, while knowing all along that he was guilty.

"Here is what happened," Braun's statement explained. "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. The products were a cream and a lozenge which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation."

Braun went on to say he was deeply ashamed, that he made a huge mistake.

"I deeply regret many of the things I said at the press conference after the arbitrator's decision in February 2012. At that time, I still didn't want to believe that I had used a banned substance. I think the 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."

Enough! This is just too nauseating to stomach.

Braun used PEDs. He elected to cheat. He lied repeatedly. Snubbed his nose at MLB. Lied to teammates, employers and family, and even got friends like Aaron Rodgers to vouch for him. All of this while inviting the cameras to keep rolling.

And yet, in the aftermath of it all, he still exhibits the unmitigated gall to say he, at one time, felt wronged and attacked?

"I love the great game of baseball and I am very sorry for any damage done to the game," the statement continued. "I have privately expressed my apologies to Commissioner Selig and Rob Manfred of MLB and to Michael Weiner and his staff at the players association. I sincerely apologize to everybody involved in the arbitration process, including the collector, Dino Laurenzi, Jr. I feel terrible that I put my teammates in a position where they were asked some very difficult and uncomfortable questions. One of my primary goals is to make amends with them."

Please. Braun is hiding like a coward, using news releases and handlers while refusing to so much as show his face in public.

Stephen A. Smith | email

ESPNNewYork.com columnist
Stephen A. Smith is a featured columnist for ESPNNewYork.com, host of a weekday show for ESPN New York 98.7 and a regular on "SportsCenter" and "First Take."

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