MILWAUKEE — In town as the club honors the 20th anniversary of his retirement from baseball, Milwaukee Brewers legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Robin Yount spoke publicly Friday for the first time since Ryan Braun accepted a season-ending suspension for violating the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
While Yount wouldn’t address Braun’s case specifically because he doesn’t know the details, he did express hope the Biogenesis suspensions would eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from the game.
“Obviously this is a bump in the road for baseball, but I hope that maybe this will put an end to this once and for all,” Yount said. “I hope the guys that are testing the system will realize that maybe they can’t beat it and let everybody go out there on an even playing field.”
Having played for baseball commissioner Bud Selig for 20 years in Milwaukee, Yount knows how important eliminating performance-enhancing drugs means to the former owner of the Brewers.
That being said, Yount feels it’s important for everybody associated with baseball to be able to move past the issue.
“It’s not what we want to focus on as an industry,” Yount said. “We want to focus on the game itself. This will pass. There’s no player that’s bigger than the game. It’s not our brightest moment, but hopefully this will make the guys aware that they are not going to beat the system and we won’t have to worry about it.”
As the baseball hero of the city of Milwaukee after spending all 20 years of his Hall of Fame career with the Brewers, Yount understands the city is hurting following Braun’s suspension.
“Let’s face it, an organization without your star player gets hurt in a lot of ways,” Yount said. “It’s just unfortunate . . . A very selfish attitude is what you end up finding here. If these guys would realize that there’s more to this than themselves — they are playing for their teams, they are hurting their teammates, they are hurting the fans they play for. Let’s face it (the fans) are paying your salary. The money comes from the fans if you go back far enough in the food chain.”
In a 2010 interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Yount said he was glad he didn’t have to face the temptation of steroids when he played. With no testing system in place back then, Yount admitted it would have been tempting.
He now stresses the testing system in place would make using performance-enhancing drugs foolish.
“It’s just not necessary anymore,” Yount said. “With the drug testing in place — again I’m no expert on it — but I would certainly like to believe that it’s a good-enough program that you can’t get away with it so nobody has to worry about it anymore. There was a day where there was an argument where you had to do it prior to drug testing, to keep up. I’d like to believe those days are gone.”