AL HAMNIK: Embarrasment not good enough for cheating athletes

2013-07-29T18:00:00Z 2013-09-03T23:44:03Z AL HAMNIK: Embarrasment not good enough for cheating athletesAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
July 29, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

See a trend developing here?

Professional athletes, enabled like spoiled rich kids, are investigated for using performance enhancing drugs and adamantly deny their guilt.

They hold a news conference, their agent on one side, mom and dad on the other, and tearfully proclaim their love for a game they would never ever disrespect.

Weeks later, overwhelming evidence reveals they were lying through their teeth. Another news conference is called, they admit to having made a mistake — hey, nobody's perfect — and they're prepared to move on.

Or they just keep lying through their teeth.

Hopefully, Ryan Braun's fan club membership dropped significantly and his business partnerships terminated after he was exposed as a liar and slapped with a season-ending 65-game suspension.

Brewers' fans were left shocked, angry and betrayed, particularly one Karen Eidem of Pewaukee.

The life-long fan, now 37, wore her Ryan Braun jersey to Miller Park Wednesday but took artistic license with it by papering over the letters "B" and "N" with the letters "F" and "D."

It spelled FRAUD. How fitting.

Miller Park security wasn't laughing, however. Eidem was asked to leave the game, even though "a lot of fans complimented me" she said.

Eidem was told her modified shirt violated the fan code of conduct, so either change it or leave. Other fans who had covered Braun's name with duct tape were not approached.

"It was all meant in good fun. It wasn't meant to be derogatory," Eidem told The Associated Press.

And it wasn't. Remember what I said earlier about "enabling" these athletes? Eidem's modified jersey was not vulgar, obscene or libelous.

Look up the definition of "fraud" and Ryan Braun meets all the criteria. Dude, if the truth hurts, wear it like a man.

Eidem didn't want trouble and turned her jersey inside out. She called it a "misunderstanding" but was being too nice.

I remember covering a Cubs-Mets game at Wrigley Field in 1987 after star pitcher Dwight Gooden had tested positive for cocaine in spring training. Fans throughout the park stood holding plastic bags of white powder and shouting Gooden's name each time he took the mound.

This was once a heated rivalry, so volatile the Cubs had security placed atop the Mets dugout. But the plastic bags were not confiscated, nor were those taunting fans ejected from the ballpark.

The Brewers owed Karen Eidem an apology and she eventually got one when her story went national. In a statement, team officials said this was not a case where the jersey offended fans and had crossed that line.

The security staff even got a light slap on the wrist for intervening when it shouldn't have.

Eidem was offered another game ticket and claims she's still a fan of one of baseball's worst teams this season.

Three days later, the Brewers announced fans attending any of the 12 home games in August will receive a $10 voucher good for concessions, merchandise and game tickets.

Let's see. Ten bucks is half a brat or a Dixie cup of beer.

That promotion is expected to cost the Brewers $3.6 million based on an average attendance of 30,000.

I would suggest taking it from Ryan Braun's inflated salary.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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