Yet another athlete has taken it upon himself to disgrace his sport, himself and the city that he represents. Ryan Braun's steroid case and suspension puts a black cloud over sports in general. Shocking that this happened? No, not really. Apparently, there are no ethics in the world of million dollar babies. Greed and pride tend to be the characteristics of those that wade through the myriad affairs of sport nowadays. Drug offenses have been commonplace, specifically in Major League Baseball.
I, like many others Milwaukeans, woke up this morning to see that the Milwaukee Brewers left fielder, Ryan Braun has been banned from baseball for the remainder of the season. Not that it really matters this year as our team may as well be playing AAA ball (the Milwaukee Brewers are one of the worst teams in the MLB). However, the integrity of America’s pastime has been compromised as a result of the actions of a few – including one of the most prolific players in recent history. Integrity – now there’s a word that appears to be out of reach for so many of today’s athletes. It’s as though the word doesn’t exist in the vernacular of some that play professional sports. Sad, but oh so true in the world of sport. Does the name of a famous bicyclist come to anyone’s mind?
I personally do not like to judge others. It is not my place. I, like many others, do not wish to cast stones as my house does have glass windows. However, let us not forget that we have an obligation as parents to provide a platform of morality for our children. On a daily basis, all of us attempt to do our best to instill in our children the difference between right and wrong. We can only hope that our teachings and actions will be followed by them. Simple things like don’t steal, don’t lie and treat others in the fashion that you would like to be treated. We guide them through life with the understanding that our leadership will be instilled upon them so that they can go forward in the world to become productive and a role model to others. Sometimes they falter, but you have to go backward at times in order to move forward. We know this and understand that learning from one’s “mistakes” is truly a humbling experience. It hurts to see professional role models curtail our teachings in such a fashion as to make us look like we have no idea what we are talking about in our guidance.
The impression that I am left with on this day is one of sadness. Why a person making the kind of money that only so few can attain acts in such a fashion is quite perplexing. It is pride that sometimes stands in our way when we do things that are morally questionable. We do not want to admit that short cuts were taken to achieve our goals. We are all guilty of this at times. However, most do it on such a small scale that we realize the error of our ways and can take the steps necessary to fix the abnormalities of the situation. In simple terms, we take the time to think clearly about our actions and what we can do to make things right. Ryan Braun had that opportunity early on, and yet, he let greed and pride stand in the way of doing what we can only hope his parents taught him not to do at an early age. This is the most troubling aspect of what I have read on this issue to date.
I play golf. I am not very good (never have been), but I play the game with the hopes of some day shooting a score that would make me proud. When I was younger, there were times when I would use a “foot wedge” when in a troubling situation. I knew it was wrong and always felt badly about doing it after the fact. As I have gotten older, I realize that I am only cheating myself. Most importantly, I understand that I am personally hurting the integrity of the game and not following the lead that I attempt to lay for my children on a daily basis. Needless to say, that wedge is no longer in my bag. Unfortunately, the news of today leads me to believe that the very small percentage of those that still carry that club in their bag may have now increased just a small percentage. Ryan Braun's Steroid case that ultimately led to his suspension is a sad day for Milwaukee and Major League Baseball.