Ryan Braun, the suspended Milwaukee Brewers outfielder, finally got around to apologising for his drug cheating and his lying last week, words which ultimately had as much relevance as the tainted numbers he has put up over his career.
Braun issued an immaculately manicured statement, failing to meet the media and face questions that remain unanswered. His explanation was that he had a moment of weakness in 2011.
To help him recover from injury, he used a "cream" and a "lozenge". How quaint. We are to believe it was an isolated incident. Really?
The reality is that Braun has entered baseball purgatory, along with fallen heroes such as Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and others whose dances with performance-enhancing drugs have turned their careers into unknowable shams.
Braun will return to the Brewers next year and help his team win or lose games, but other than that, he is an invisible man. His numbers – baseball's official guide to greatness – will not count for anything. He will never be elected to the Hall of Fame.
If his performance drops, people will nod knowingly at the "clean" Braun. If he shines again, it will be "wink, wink" – he found a new dealer.
Braun's shot at relevance is through a fuller confession, with truthful, specific answers to the whys and the whats.
What baseball needs is honestly and full disclosure, not well-rehearsed remorse.
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