We’re back with another week of teabags. This week’s been so good, The Machine’s giving you a double dose of teabags: Johnny Football, who is on track to be dating a porn star before the season starts, and Ryan Braun, the latest lying, meathead, juiced up baseball player.
Johnny, as you all know, took the college football world by storm last year, and became the first freshmen to ever win the Heisman Trophy. He fits the new mold of an NFL QB…a young, hip gunslinger that can run and throw (think Colin Kaepernick but even more immature). He’s a read/option dream (it’s still a fad, folks) and he’s almost certain to be a top (if not the top) pick in the 2014 Draft. That is, if he stops his Gronk-like offseason.
Recently, Johnny was a camp counselor at the Manning Passing Academy and was sent home for missing meetings and generally being a complete douche. Multiple reports (and twitter pics) show Johnny out partying, and the reasonable conclusion is that he was hung over (he claims he overslept because his phone was dead). Reports also had him on Bourbon Street at 4:00 am (about an hour from where the Manning Passing Academy was being held), lying to his parents, and having his daddy explain that his tummy-wummy hurt. Whether it was dehydration or a bender, it doesn’t look good. And this just adds to his offseason of drama.
Look, The Machine doesn’t care that he was getting after it at a bar or macking on some co-eds…if we were the most popular college student in America, you can bet your ass we’d be taking full advantage of that. Johnny just needs to learn when to do it and (more importantly) when not to do it. The Mannings are known for a lot of things (#winning, #18-1) but here’s what they’re not known for: a good time. The Machine’s pretty sure Eli’s never seen midnight. You don’t go to the Manning Passing Academy to have a good time…unless your definition of a good time includes watching film, camp fire stories with Archie, and sing-a-longs with Peyton and Cooper.
This is just one of many questionable moves that Johnny has made this offseason, leaving many to affix the hot button term “character issues” next to his name. This is Sophomore Slump written all over it.
Ryan Braun was recently suspended for the rest of the season for taking PEDs and the first player officially suspended in the Biogenesis scandal. He’s also the most popular athlete suspended thus far (A-Rod, you’re on deck).
Now, that fact that he used PEDs isn’t that surprising. If every juicer was worthy of a teabag, we’d have nothing else to write about. Kind of like giving a teabag to every NFL player that gets arrested. But Ryan deserves it for his actions during this whole scandal.
Back in 2011, Braun won the NL MVP Award, and also won himself a little contract extension, to the tune of $113 million (that’s a lot of brauts and beers, actually, it’s probably enough to buy Milwaukee). Anyway, after his MVP setting 2011 season (and after signing his mega-contract) Braun tests positive for synthetic testosterone. However, an arbitrator overturned his 50 game suspension based on procedural errors. He (read: his lawyers) were able to successfully argue that the proper chain of custody protocols were not followed, as the Collector did not promptly submit his sample for testing.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with getting something bounced on procedural errors (The Machine takes great pride in getting a speeding ticket dismissed when the officer wrote the wrong license plate number down). But it was Ryan’s actions and words that went over the line.
Instead of just breathing a huge sigh of relief and counting your lucky procedural stars, Ryan engaged in this bizarre PR campaign to proclaim his innocence. Standing in front of a throng of reporters in February, 2012, Braun said “I truly believe in my heart and I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point.” His brazenness didn’t end there, as he threw MLB and the Collector under the bus, claiming he was a victim of a flawed system. “There are a lot of things we’ve heard about the collection process, the collector and some other people involved in the process that have certainly been concerning to us.”
He again went on the offensive during training camp, saying
“I have always taken tremendous pride in my image and my reputation in being a role model and handling myself the right way and doing things the right way. And all of that has been called into question by this situation. When you know you’re innocent of something, it’s extremely difficult to have to prove it when you’re in a process where you’re 100% guilty until proven innocent.”
He protested he was innocent so much that some people actually believed him. Aaron Rodgers bet his salary on it. However, anyone with a reasonable level of intelligence knew that Braun was guilty as sin, and got off on a technicality. And while his Innocence Project may have worked on some, it didn’t work on MLB. Who knows, it’s possible that Bud was so pissed of Braun flaunting the system and rubbing it in by constantly proclaiming his innocence, that he made it his mission to bring him down. It certainly seemed like the league had a huge hard on for him.
So now that Braun’s been exposed as a fraud and a cheat, and suspended for the rest of the season (completely screwing my fantasy team, btw) the media is happy that he gets what he deserves. Mike Lupica notes that it’s about time that Braun is going to do some time. But what the media doesn’t answer, or refuses to address, is whether Braun’s really suffering at all.
Sure, his reputation his taken a big hit, and he’ll have to work extra hard to regain the public’s trust (however, we people are fickle, and love a comeback story). Sure, he’s suspended for the rest of the season and will lose around $3.4 million in salary. But let’s look at some other facts:
One, the Brewers are awful this year (41-58, 20 games out of first) and are going nowhere this season, with or without Braun. Suspending him for the rest of the season when the season’s already over for his team isn’t really a punishment. It’s a vacation.
Two, and perhaps more importantly, the Brewers still owe him $113 million. The Machine’s no math-magician, but we know enough that 113 is more than 3.4. Would you spend $3.4 million if you knew you were guaranteed $113 million? It’s a no brainer.
No wonder these guys are juicing. You get big to get the big (guaranteed) contract, and then if you get caught, so what. The money is still there. The current punishment system for using PEDs is not enough of a deterrent.
An interesting twist is that players are now speaking out against tougher penalties. Matt Kemp argues that Braun should be stripped of his MVP award. Note: that’s somewhat self-serving, seeing as how Kemp finished 2nd in the MVP race. Max Scherzer, however, steps it up to a whole other level and argues that Braun’s contract should be voided. Max astutely points out that players still benefit financially by taking PEDs, and until you strip that incentive, you’ll never rid the game of PEDs.
Both Matt and Max are absolutely right: any awards while juicing (except a teabag) should be automatically forfeited, and teams should have the right to void their contract. That’s the only way to get the player’s attention.
As for Braun, it’s not over for him. He’s still young (29) and has plenty of time to rehabilitate his image. He’s a Jeremy Schapp interview away from getting back in our good graces. But here’s some advice: go into hibernation. Wait until after the World Series is over before you embark on the Innocence Project, Part II and re-virginize yourself. Take solace in the fact that if you lead the Brewers to the playoffs next year, most will be forgotten. That, and the boat load of cash that’s still coming your way.
Enjoy your teabag.