Since the days of Hank Greenberg, Jewish baseball stars have been a source of pride for American Jews. Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun, whose father is Jewish and who identifies as a Jew, was no exception. In 2011, when he was named Major League Baseball’s Most Valuable Player, Braun made the Forward 50.
Braun makes the list again this year, but this time, his Jewishness is a source of notoriety.
According to press reports, Braun, 29, suggested that anti-Semitism motivated the man who handled his drug test, Dino Laurenzi Jr., to produce a positive result that showed Braun had been using banned performance-enhancing drugs.
Braun made the charges, ESPN reported, in private telephone calls to some of Major League Baseball’s top players shortly before an MLB appeals board was expected to dismiss his appeal of an earlier decision harshly penalizing him for drug use. Braun, ESPN said, was trying to get some of his fellow stars to stick up for him. (Two of the players later denied the report.)
To everyone’s surprise, the appeals board found in Braun’s favor. So Braun was off the hook — until written evidence from a Florida lab showed that it had supplied him with PEDs. Braun then fessed up.
“I realize now that I have made some mistakes,” Braun said in July 22 statement. “I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions.”
So far, those consequences have included Braun’s suspension from the 65 games that remained in the season, with a resulting loss of $3.25 million in salary.