MIKE NIETO: America's pastime?

2013-08-02T18:30:00Z 2013-08-02T23:48:12Z MIKE NIETO: America's pastime?Mike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
August 02, 2013 6:30 pm  • 

Current speculation is that New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez could be banned for life from Major League Baseball for his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Commissioner Bug Selig could impose a lifetime ban on A-Rod and it could come likely Monday. He could also be accused of recruiting other athletes to a Miami clinic where the PEDs were sold or dispensed, as well as trying to obstruct MLB's investigation into the clinic.

No matter what the decision, you wonder if he will ever put a Yankees uniform on again.

Milwaukee Brewers superstar Ryan Braun was suspended for 65 games, the remainder of this season.

You have to wonder if Braun played his teammates, the Brewers organization and the Wisconsin fans for fools. He lied and never apologized, but chose to throw sample collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. under the bus. Braun even lied to his business partner, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Remember, Braun was found to have tested positive in 2011 for PEDs, but beat the rap due to a technicality.

Braun showed his arrogance and maybe forgot how supportive the fans were, and many still are of him.

He is -- or was -- the face of the Brewers organization. Just a few weeks ago, I was at Miller Park where there were a lot of youths and adults with No. 8 Brewers jerseys. The little kids don't understand nor should they. Since then, a fan changed "BRAUN" on the back of her Brewers jersey to "FRAUD."

When Braun returns next year, fans will probably forget and welcome him back. Remember Brett Favre in the 1990s with Vicodin? He won a Super Bowl and he is still revered in Wisconsin. Fans tend to have a short memory, and if Braun can come back and put the Brewers in a World Series in a few years -- a place they haven't been since 1982 -- he will be embraced. 

But maybe not?

This was a slap in the face to the Milwaukee fans who love their Brewers. Braun has shown nothing but hubris. Some say he should return the 2011 MVP award because he won it while using PEDs.

Maybe the way to stop this is to ban players for life. Obviously hitting them in their pocketbooks is not that big of a deal. This is akin to the drug scandals in the mid-1980s which brought some players down. However, the substance abuse problem didn't go away.

Remember the 1998 home run chase with Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire? Barry Bonds? It seems as long as the stands were filled, TV revenues were up, it didn't matter. Looking the other way seemed to be the way to go.

You can no longer look the other way, but you also know that this recent scandal and suspensions won't clean up much.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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