Braun issues apology for doping in MVP season


Banned Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun acknowledged on Thursday he used performance enhancing drugs during his National League Most Valuable Player season in 2011.

“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' website.

“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,” he added.

Major League Baseball (MLB) in July suspended Braun for the rest of the season, at least 65 games, saying that he had violated the league's joint drug prevention program.

No details were given of the offence committed by Braun but he had been suspected of procuring performance enhancing drugs from Biogenesis, the now-shut Florida anti-aging clinic that was investigated by MLB.

Previously Braun was suspended for 50 games by MLB after he tested positive for elevated testosterone levels during the 2011 sseason but that ban was overturned in February 2012, after he successfully appealed claiming his tests were mishandled.

After winning that appeal, Braun made critical comments about the collection of his urine sample and the collector, saying that he viewed the process as “suspicious”.

On Thursday, Braun revisited his comments and said he was embarrassed by them.

“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 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. I am beyond embarrassed that I said what I thought I needed to say to defend my clouded vision of reality.”

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.

“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.

Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami, Editing by Larry Fine

Braun said specimen collector was anti-Semite to drum up support in ’12


Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun during his appeal of a drug suspension in 2012 told players on opposing teams that the collector of his urine sample was an anti-Semite.

Braun, the son of an Israeli-born Jewish father, was suspended in July for the remainder of this season for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement for his connection to the Biogenesis clinic, which provided performance-enhancing drugs to more than a dozen players.

The 2011 Most Valuable Player had been suspended in 2012 for using performance-enhancing drugs, but successfully appealed the 50-game ban and denied he ever used PEDs.

Braun called at least three veteran players to lobby for their support ahead of his appeal of the 2012 suspension, ESPN reported.

He won the appeal after proving that the specimen collector, identified as Dino Laurenzi Jr., broke the chain of custody of the sample by storing it in his refrigerator and not sending it out for 44 hours.

According to ESPN, Braun in  his calls to the players also said Laurenzi was a Chicago Cubs fan, a division rival of the Brewers, implying that the sample collector would be working against Braun.

Braun has been referred to as “The Hebrew Hammer.” His mother, Diane, a Catholic, has said, “He’s totally not Jewish.”

“I heard some organization started called him ‘The Hebrew Hammer.’ I said, ‘Oh no.’ My mother would be rolling over in her grave if she heard that.”

Praise for Selig and no sympathy for drug cheats


From the ballparks to the anti-doping war rooms of those leading the battle against performance-enhancing drugs, Major League Baseball's crackdown on drug cheats was hailed as an MVP moment in the fight against doping on Monday.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), that not long ago labeled MLB's anti-doping efforts “a joke”, praised commissioner Bud Selig's get-tough stance.

And the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) viewed the unprecedented suspension as a dramatic shift in the doping culture.

“All clean athletes won an MVP award today, as this is a strong and powerful message that their rights and the integrity of the game will be protected,” USADA chief Travis Tygart told Reuters. “When truth and integrity are upheld that's a good day for clean athletes.”

Following an exhaustive MLB investigation into players linked to Biogenesis, the now-shut Miami anti-aging clinic accused of distributing performance enhancing drugs, Selig dropped the hammer on the drug cheats.

He handed out bans to 13 players, including a record 211 game suspension to baseball's highest paid player, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

“WADA commends the actions taken by the MLB in suspending 13 players associated with the performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) scandal concerning the Biogenesis Clinic in Miami,” WADA said in a statement.

“As we have said previously, non-analytical methods are proving to be an increasingly effective means of helping uncover those athletes who have committed foul play and breached anti-doping rules.

“The MLB has approached the matter in a professional manner throughout, and we look forward to maintaining our close relationship as we move forward in our efforts to protect clean athletes and advocate doping-free sport.”

The 14 players caught in the MLB drug sweep, including Milwaukee Brewers Ryan Braun, the 2011 National League MVP who earlier accepted a 65 game suspension, received little sympathy from fellow players although the players' union said it would back Rodriguez's appeal of his ban.

As the suspension announcement approached, the Twitter-verse exploded with reaction, most of it directed at the drug cheats for the damage they have done to the great “American Pastime”.

“Today is a sad day for MLB, the fans of this great game, and all players who may have been negatively affected by others selfishness,” tweeted Tampa Rays Evan Longoria.

“Ultimately, although today will be a day of infamy for MLB, it is a tremendous step in the right direction for the game we love.”

Tygart singled out Selig for particular praise and Rodriguez for scathing scorn for appealing his suspension and failing to face up to his punishment.

Long accused of turning a blind eye to doping, Selig has seen the light after a series of drug controversies that have badly tainted the sport, and evolved into an anti-doping hardliner.

“I commend the commissioner for his leadership on this issue,” said Tygart.

“Obviously they learned in the late 90s and early 2000s this (doping) is the biggest threat to sport and to have the commissioner of one of most popular pro leagues in the world to take a firm stand and support it is really refreshing and give all clean athletes hope.

“They absolutely did the right thing, when you are between a rock and hard place and you do the right thing that is true leadership.”

Reporting by Steve Keating; by Julian Linden

2011’s Top 10 Jews in the news (Like them, or not)


Last year, we started our ” title=”returned home” target=”_blank”>returned home with grace and a smile on his face.


” title=”as a victim” target=”_blank”>as a victim, but as an

” title=”left us this year” target=”_blank”>left us this year, but brought light to all our lives. Her music has defined our spirituality.


” title=”Charlie Sheen” target=”_blank”>Charlie Sheen. He saw a reckless villain and booted him, then took the heat.


” title=”touched our hearts” target=”_blank”>touched our hearts for her vulnerability and soul.


” title=”first Jewish MVP” target=”_blank”>first Jewish MVP in half a century, Milwaukee’s 28-year-old slugger was

” title=”Gone” target=”_blank”>Gone, but never to be forgotten!


” title=”foul-mouthed sleazeball” target=”_blank”>foul-mouthed sleazeball director was forced from the helm of this year’s Oscars show, the Academy turned to

” title=”escapades” target=”_blank”>escapades, already?


” title=”sexual assault charges” target=”_blank”>sexual assault charges were dropped and the former IMF head is now back in France. Still: shame on you, Monsieur DSK—and good riddance.


 

Report: Ryan Braun, baseball MVP, tests positive for performance-enhancing drugs


Ryan Braun, the first Jewish player in more than five decades to win one of baseball’s Most Valuable Player awards, has reportedly tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

The Associated Press cited an unnamed source who said that the case was under appeal to an arbitrator under Major League Baseball’s drug program.

Braun is disputing the results. According to USA Today, he dismissed the reports as “B.S.”

“There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan’s complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program,” said a Braun spokesman in a statement published by ESPN. “While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated.”

Braun, the son of an Israeli-born Jewish father and a Catholic mother, was named the National League MVP last month. He received 20 of 32 first-place votes and 388 points in voting announced by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Los Angeles center fielder Matt Kemp was second with 10 first-place votes and 332 points.

Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1963 was the last Jewish player to win the award. Other Jewish players who have been named MVP are Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers in 1940 and Al Rosen of the Cleveland Indians in 1953.

Braun batted .332 this season with 33 home runs, 111 RBI and 33 steals to help lead the Brewers to the Central Division title.

Some have taken to calling the Los Angeles-reared Braun “The Hebrew Hammer.”

“I am Jewish,” Braun said last year. “It’s something I’m really proud of. But I don’t want to make it into something more than what it is. I didn’t have a bar mitzvah. I don’t want to pretend that I did. I didn’t celebrate the holidays.

“It’s a touchy subject because I don’t want to offend anybody, and I don’t want groups claiming me now because I’m having success. But I do consider myself definitely Jewish. And I’m extremely proud to be a role model for young Jewish kids.”

This year Braun has been named twice to JTA’s weekly Friday Five list and also cracked the top five of the annual Forward 50 list.

Brewers’ Braun wins MVP award


Ryan Braun, the slugging outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, became the first Jewish Most Valuable Player in nearly five decades.

Braun, the son of an Israeli-born Jewish father and a Catholic mother, was named the National League MVP on Tuesday. He received 20 of 32 first-place votes and 388 points in voting announced by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Los Angeles center fielder Matt Kemp was second with 10 first-place votes and 332 points.

Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1963 was the last Jewish player to win the award. Other Jewish players who have been named MVP are Hank Greenberg of the Detroit Tigers in 1940 and Al Rosen of the Cleveland Indians in 1953.

Braun this season batted .332 this season with 33 home runs, 111 RBI and 33 steals to help lead the Brewers to the Central Division title.

Some have taken to calling the Los Angeles-reared Braun “The Hebrew Hammer.”

“I am Jewish,” Braun said last year. “It’s something I’m really proud of. But I don’t want to make it into something more than what it is. I didn’t have a bar mitzvah. I don’t want to pretend that I did. I didn’t celebrate the holidays.

“It’s a touchy subject because I don’t want to offend anybody, and I don’t want groups claiming me now because I’m having success. But I do consider myself definitely Jewish. And I’m extremely proud to be a role model for young Jewish kids.”