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Associated Press
Ryan Braun

The truth will not set you free

All that phony sanctimony. All that bald-faced, unvarnished fibbin'.

It surely haunts Ryan Braun like Marley's ghost today, now that he's been forced to come out with his hands up. The man who swore in spring training last year he'd "bet his life" that PEDs never entered his body is in the uncomfortable position of having to pay off that bet, if not literally at least in the career sense.

Because, listen, Braun's 65-game suspension goes way beyond 65 games, and everyone with a working brain cell knows it. His life may not be forfeit, per the bet, but his professional life surely is. For as long as he plays he'll always be nothing more than -- as radio blowhole Jim Rome continually referred to him today -- Lyin' Braun.

And it didn't have to be this way, had Braun followed the eternal truism no public figure ever seems to follow. It's never the act but the lying about it that gets you, right? Like, every time?

It's a concept even a gerbil could understand, and yet public figures, astoundingly, invariably fail to grasp it. Had Braun simply 'fessed up when he was initially caught juicing, America would have forgiven him. Now, because he was so insufferably arrogant in his duplicity -- astoundingly, he actually called it a triumph for "the truth" when he beat the rap last summer, when it was actually a triumph for lying through his incisors -- he'll never be forgiven. Especially given the smarmy way he "apologized" yesterday.

"As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect," he said in the statement that was likely written by a functionary as clueless as he is. "I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it ... has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization.

"I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed -- all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love."

Weak sauce, all of that. "I realize now I have made mistakes"? "I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed"? May have?

Much better had Braun ditched his idiot lawyers and simply come out with a little shoot-from-the-hip honesty: "Look, guys, I lied my tuchus off because I cared more about saving my pathetic self than being square with everyone who's ever done right by me. That's the truth. And I wasn't sorry for it until I was cornered, which hardly counts as being sorry. That's also the truth.

"So I understand your contempt for me today. I deserve it. I'm a pretty contemptible human being at this point."

See how easy?

Instead ... well, enjoy the rest of the summer off, Mr. Braun. And get ready to see "Lyin' Braun" banners flying from every ballpark in the National League next summer -- including your own.

Ben Smith's blog.