MIAMI (CBSMiami) – How much is your reputation worth? Would you sacrifice your reputation and everything you've worked hard to develop in exchange for more than $100 million?
Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun sacrificed everything he ever worked to do, his reputation, his name, the awards he would win, everything, just to get that multi-million dollar payday. In his view, and in the view of many Americans, Gordan Gekko in the movie "Wall Street" was right, "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good."
Braun has been suspended for steroid use and should have been suspended more than a year ago for it. He did and said anything to further his own goals of getting to the top of the mountain. The sad part is he did it all and accomplished everything he wanted.
Think about it, he was a top 10 pick coming out of the University of Miami and was already playing at a high-level by the time he reached the major leagues. But it was never enough for the self-serving narcissist that Ryan Braun became.
He wanted to be the best, but he didn't have the full-set of gifts, at least he thought. So when you can't win fair, you cheat; and that's exactly what he did by ingesting performance-enhancing drugs. While Braun will forever be linked to steroids and his reputation is trashed, think about it from his point of view.
He still will get paid all of the money owed to him on his current contract, which runs through 2021 when he will be 37 years old. The contract extension Braun signed, thanks in large part to his play while on PEDs, will still pay him approximately $133 million for the next eight seasons.
Braun has to sit out the rest of a season that was essentially lost anyway with the Brewers going nowhere in the playoff race. True, he'll lose approximately $3.5 million from this year's salary, but he's still got $133 guaranteed to him from 2014-2021.
So, he'll get a 65-game vacation to spend the tens of millions of dollars he's already made while awaiting the more than hundred million dollars he will still make.
Braun's character was also fully displayed when he admitted to the PED use after giving some of these comments last year after his initial suspension was thrown out on a technicality.
"Today is for anyone who has been wrongly accused and everyone who stood up for what's right. It's about future players and the game of baseball. I will continue to take the high road. We won because the truth was on my side. I was a victim of a process that completely broke down and failed as it was applied to me in this case. Today's about making sure this never happens to anyone else who plays this game."
Yes, he made those comments with a straight face, which given his propensity to lie to get ahead shouldn't be that surprising.
Still, one of the biggest problems with what Braun did is not the damage he did to himself, obviously he didn't care about that or he would not have cheated. The problem is the collateral damage that is always taken down when something like this happens.
The person I feel the worst for is the person who took his initial sample that was thrown out on a technicality that Braun essentially accused of intentionally trying to set him up. While the man is vindicated, ultimately his reputation was damaged much more than Braun.
Then there's the Los Angeles Dodgers' Matt Kemp. He lost the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player race to Braun. Now in hindsight, knowing Braun was cheating, Kemp will be looked in a different light, but he still can't put that title of MVP next to his name simply because Braun cheated.
He cheated. He lied. He stole from other players. He stole from the game. But in the end, Ryan Braun will still get everything that he wanted. How many of us would not do anything to get everything we wanted?
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