ABC News’ Paula Faris reports:
Ryan Braun, one of Major League Baseball’s biggest stars, is now being labeled nothing more than a “liar” by players and fans after finally admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs.
“At this point, he lied about it. Got away with it. Tried to lie about it again. … Got caught. … And is still making hundreds of millions of dollars,” New York Mets pitcher David Aardsma told ABC News today.
“He cheated the system at a time where us baseball players have made a commitment to clean up the game,” Atlanta Braves outfielder Reed Johnson said.
Braun, 29, was suspended Monday for the rest of the season — 65 games — for using the banned substances he’d denied using for nearly two years. He stands to lose $3 million of a nearly $9 million salary.
“If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I’d be the first one to step up and said I did it,” Braun — of the Milwaukee Brewers and a 2011 MVP — said two years ago.
And recently as last month, he maintained his innocence.
“The truth has not changed,” he said in June.
In late 2011, Braun tested positive for elevated testosterone levels but appealed the suspension. It was later overturned. During an MLB investigation, Braun was linked to an antiaging clinic accused of distributing banned substances to athletes. The league suspended him and Braun reportedly confessed.
“I realize now that I have made some mistakes,” he said in a statement. “I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions.”
According to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” Braun is just one of about 20 players being investigated including the New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez.
According to ESPN, Rodriguez might face a harsher punishment than Braun. He allegedly did not only violate the league’s drug policy but also reportedly tampered with evidence.
Christine Brennan, a sports columnist, said Monday’s announcement had rocked the MLB.
“As one for the heroes of the game … as the National League’s Most Valuable Player just two years ago … for him to be caught and suspended and gone for the season, that is huge news in the sport of baseball,” she said.
Sources told ABC News today that the MLB was “in the final states of the investigation for everyone.”
“I hope that Ryan Braun is forever remembered as the most despicable liar in the history of baseball,” Skip Bayless of ESPN said.