Protective no more, baseball players are downright disgusted these days with doping.
Now they are demanding even stiffer suspensions for those caught cheating.
“It’s a new generation of athletes that are standing up,” Travis Tygart, chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said Tuesday. “The culture’s been flipped on its head.”
When Ryan Braun accepted a season-ending 65-game suspension Monday rather than fight Major League Baseball over evidence he used performance-enhancing drugs, fellow players appeared tired of those who cast shadows on the sport.
“They’re lying to the fans,” Los Angeles Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson said. “They’re lying to their teammates. They’re lying to their GMs, their owners, and they’re going to get caught.”
Skip Schumaker of the Los Angeles Dodgers said Braun, the 2011 NL MVP for the Milwaukee Brewers, let him down.
“Watching him talk right now makes me sick,” Schumaker said. “I have an autographed Braun jersey in my baseball room that I’ll be taking down. I don’t want my son identifying what I’ve worked so hard to get to and work so hard to have — I don’t want him comparing Braun to me.”
Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who finished second to Braun in the 2011 MVP vote, said the Milwaukee slugger should be stripped of the honor.
“We had conversations, and I considered him a friend,” Kemp said. “I don’t think anybody likes to be lied to, and I feel like a lot of people have felt betrayed.”
Braun tested positive for elevated testosterone in October 2011 but successfully overturned a 50-game penalty when an arbitrator ruled the outfielder’s urine sample was handled improperly. Braun loudly proclaimed his innocence then.
“I thought this whole thing has been despicable on his part,” Detroit pitcher Max Scherzer said. “When he did get caught, he never came clean. He tried to question the ability of the collector when he was caught red-handed. So that’s why the whole Braun situation, there is so much player outrage toward him.”
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Braun was guilty.
“You don’t accept a deal unless you’re guilty,” he said.
“It’s another black eye for our game. I know this game is very resilient, and there’s been a lot of scandals over the years, but you get tired of it,” Girardi added.
He may soon face his own problem — with a star slugger.
More than a dozen players have been targeted by MLB in its probe of the closed anti-aging clinic Biogenesis of America, including three-time AL MVP Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees.