NEW YORK — Protective no more, baseball players are downright disgusted with doping.
Now they are demanding even stiffer suspensions for those caught cheating.
“It’s a new generation of athletes that are standing up,” Travis Tygart, chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said Tuesday. “The culture’s been flipped on its head.”
When Ryan Braun accepted a season-ending 65-game suspension Monday rather than fight Major League Baseball over evidence he used performance-enhancing drugs, fellow players appeared tired of those who cast shadows on the sport.
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“They’re lying to the fans,” Los Angeles Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson said. “They’re lying to their teammates. They’re lying to their GMs, their owners, and they’re going to get caught.”
Skip Schumaker of the Los Angeles Dodgers said Braun, the 2011 National League MVP for the Milwaukee Brewers, let him down.
“Watching him talk right now makes me sick,” Schumaker said. “I have an autographed Braun jersey in my baseball room that I’ll be taking down. I don’t want my son identifying what I’ve worked so hard to get to and work so hard to have — I don’t want him comparing Braun to me.”
The Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, who finished second to Braun in the 2011 MVP vote, felt he was let
down by the slugger.
“We had conversations, and I considered him a friend,” Kemp said. “I don’t think anybody likes to be lied to, and I feel like a lot of people have felt betrayed.”
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Braun was guilty.
“You don’t accept a deal unless you’re guilty,” he said.
More than a dozen players have been targeted by MLB in its probe of the closed anti-aging clinic Biogenesis of America, including three-time AL MVP Alex Rodriguez. Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero also has been linked to the investigation.
The next step will be for MLB to inform the union of additional players it intends to penalize, which could happen as early as a meeting on Thursday.
New York expects A-Rod could face a much harsher penalty than the one Braun agreed to, a person familiar with the case said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Yankees anticipate Rodriguez could be accused of using PEDs over multiple seasons, of recruiting other athletes for the clinic, of attempting to obstruct MLB’s investigation, and of not being truthful with MLB in the past when he discussed his relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea, who pleaded guilty two years ago to a U.S. federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs from Canada into the United States.
Despite Braun’s suspension, Kemp has no shot at claiming the MVP trophy.
BRAUN FALLOUT BEGINS
A chain of convenience stores is cutting ties with Braun in the wake of his season-ending suspension.
Gary Gonczy, director of marketing and advertising for Kwik Trip, Inc., says the company will no longer use Braun as a spokesman. He says in an email that the company is ending a promotional contest where the winner got to have lunch with Braun at a Milwaukee restaurant.
Kwik Trip is a chain of 300 convenience and Tobacco outlet stores that are found in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.