Craig Remsburg column: Suspension for Braun not enough

For the last couple of years, Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers has repeatedly said he never took performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).

Even when evidence suggested he had, Braun escaped a 50-game penalty from Major League Baseball when an arbitrator ruled the outfielder’s urine sample was collected improperly.

The 2011 National League MVP continued to profess his innocence until last Monday, when he made a deal with MLB.

Braun was suspended for the rest of the season – 65 games – without pay for being connected with Biogenesis of America, a closed Florida clinic accused of distributing PEDs.

He acknowledged he had “made some mistakes” and was willing to “accept the consequenses” of his actions.

Though his suspension is 15 games more than any other previous MLB punishment handed out for a first-time PED offense and he’ll lose about $3 million in salary, Braun struck a favorable deal.

The Brewers aren’t going anywhere this season and his salary climbs to $10 million in 2014. When he does return, a lot of the furor over his use of PEDs will be gone, as fickle fans have short memories.

If Braun had not struck a deal with MLB, he likely would have asked the player’s union to intercede on his behalf and file a grievance.

The result would have been a long, drawn out affair that would have destroyed the fragile peace between the player’s union and MLB baseball.

Neither side, for now, wants that to happen.

And the Baseball Writers’ Association of America can’t – or won’t – force Braun to relinquish his 2011 MVP award to second-place finisher Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

So Braun cheats, is named the NL’s best player and uses that to sign a deal that extends his contract through 2020. He also signs many endorsement deals.

It’s not right. It’s enough to make even the most devoted baseball fan sick. Or, it should.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig could have suspended Braun for 100-150 games under agreements with the players’ union. But baseball’s top guy chose not to.

He also could have banned Braun from MLB for life. Again, Selig chose not to.

If Selig is really intent on cleaning up the game and getting rid of PEDs in MLB, he would have made Braun’s punishment much stiffer.

Especially since Braun lied to so many people so many times and cast a giant cloud over so many players who have abided by the rules.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is cremsburg@miningjournal.