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Derek Redd: Braun’s omission offers fans some insight

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Pardon me while my mind runneth over ...   Ryan Braun apologized to a lot of people Monday evening, when Major League Baseball announced he was suspended for the rest of the season for violating its drug policy.

"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," his cap-in-hand statement read.

He forgot someone. A very important someone.

Ryan Braun should have apologized to the courier who collected his urine sample and, figuring no FedEx Office was open on a late Saturday night, stored it at home until he could ship it. It was that courier's decision that allowed Braun's lawyers to argue that there were enough chain-of-custody issues to render the samples invalid. That sample, according to reports, showed a ratio of testosterone-to-epitestosterone of 20-to-1. Anything above 4-to-1 indicates a positive test. Still, that courier's decision allowed him to dodge the suspension bullet in 2012.

That allowed him to proclaim his innocence, to claim the truth was on his side and admit there were times he wanted to come out and attack like he had been attacked.

Which is all garbage.

Cheating happens in sports. Athletes have used "cream" and "clear." They've used spitballs and corked bats. The sport of cycling is riddled with drug cheats. Cheating and getting caught is one thing. All that does is hurt the guilty party's reputation.

The real scoundrels are those who use their power, wealth and notoriety to squash regular folks who are just doing their jobs in seeking the truth, to try and damage those folks' reputations in order to save their own.

Ryan Braun needed to add an apology to one of those folks Monday night.

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IF A college football player wants to obliterate any sympathy I may have for him, he can compare himself to an oddly coiffed Canadian pop star.

And that's what Johnny Manziel did this past week at SEC media days.

"I guess I feel like Justin Bieber or something," the Texas A&M quarterback known as "Johnny Football" told ESPN. "I never thought it would really be that way."

Now Manziel should be free to leave his house without being mobbed by fans. He should be able to watch a Drake concert unmolested. And while some of the more puritanical college football fans may turn up their noses, he should be allowed to live it up in Cabo.

But when he heads home early from his counseling stint at the Manning Passing Academy because, as he told everyone at media days, he overslept, he has to understand that people will talk. College football analysts will opine. Some will even scold.

But the last way Manziel can retort is by saying that all he wants is to be treated like any other 20-year-old college student. He can't. Because he's not.

He's the first freshman to win a Heisman Trophy. He's a household name. And, most importantly, he's a public representative of his university, even when he doesn't want to be. With that notoriety comes scrutiny when he does something kinda dumb. Oversleeping - for whatever reason - while working at the Manning camp and leaving early is kinda dumb.

It doesn't compute when a college athlete - or a professional one, for that matter - says he or she doesn't want the spotlight, yet signs with the most visible and popular team available. But assuming a quarterback with NFL aspirations would shun Texas A&M for Texas A&M-Kingsville is just absurd.

So, yes, Johnny Football, when you're the most recognized college football player in America, your life will sometimes feel a little Bieber-rific. I'll give him one thing, though. At least he doesn't dress like Bieber.


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I'M NOT sure what makes me scratch my head more: That Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison was arrested for barking at a Gainesville police dog, or that barking at a police dog is an arrestable offense.


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KUDOS TO Phil Mickelson for winning his first British Open and fifth major championship after a scintillating 66 in the final round at Muirfield. But even after taming the links in Gullane, Scotland, there's one course that vexes him every year.

Mickelson has missed the cut at the Greenbrier Classic in three straight tries, the first time in his career he's done that. Maybe, instead of bringing "Bones" Mackay as his caddie for his next trip to White Sulphur Springs, he should bring Michael Caine. The British accent might put him in the right frame of mind. And Caine did "Jaws: The Revenge," for Pete's sake. He'd probably take this job, too.

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at or 304-348-1712. His blog is at Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.


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