ANAHEIM, Calif. – Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson said he hopes baseball will be able to move away quickly from the suspension of Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, but he also knows it won’t be easy and that more punishments are probably coming.
Braun, who beat out the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp for the National League MVP in 2011, was suspended without pay for the final 65 games of the season for violating baseball’s basic agreement and its drug prevention and treatment program.
Braun’s suspension begins immediately.
“I feel like this is the first domino to fall, and obviously there’s a big cloud over the game right now,” said Wilson, who is the Angels’ player representative. “Hopefully we can get past this and move on as soon as possible. Hopefully whatever actions happen are going to happen swiftly. That way, we don’t have to complain about it next year.”
Wilson said most players are in agreement that anyone caught using performance-enhancing drugs should be punished quickly so the game can move out of the shadow of the PED scandal.
In a statement, Braun acknowledged making “some mistakes” and said he was willing to accept the punishment, which will cost him $3.2 million in salary.
“Nobody wants anybody to do performance-enhancing drugs,” Wilson said. “When we talk about it in group talk, in the clubhouse, that’s what people say. We’re like, ‘Good, get it over with. Get this guy’s suspension and then move on.’
“It’s annoying to have to answer questions about it all the time. It’s annoying to have fans say things all the time. One thing I’ve said this whole time is that it’s really an ethics issue. You’re policing the moral fiber of cheating. People think the rules don’t apply to them or they can get away with things. Eventually they get caught, and this is what’s happening.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia called Braun’s suspension “a sad day.”
“We went through some dark times in baseball when PEDs became very prevalent, and obviously they’re still being used, hopefully to a lesser degree in major league baseball,” Scioscia said. “But there’s no place for them, and it’s a black eye when something like this happens. But it’s something you have to weed your way through.”
Wilson said players want a level playing field. Those who use PEDs have an unfair advantage that casts a pall over the game and creates doubt among fans.
“The guys that are cheating are taking something away from the other players,” Wilson said. “That’s what it boils down to. They’re lying to the fans, they’re lying to their teammates, they’re lying to their GMs and owners. They’re going to get caught. That’s the whole point.”