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Rodgers' past support of Braun looks naive

Jul. 23, 2013
 

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The Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun, left, talks to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers during a spring training workout in Phoenix in February 2012. File/AP

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So what does Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers think about Ryan Braun now?

Rodgers aggressively and emotionally went to bat for his “good buddy” after Braun’s 50-game suspension following a failed drug test in 2011 was overturned.

On Monday, Braun accepted a 65-game suspension from major-league baseball after yet another drug investigation, in effect all but admitting he lied and cheated.

That leaves Rodgers in an awkward position, since he so adamantly supported Braun.

It’s understandable that Rodgers stuck up for Braun, whom he described as a good friend. The two are also business partners in a Milwaukee area restaurant.
It’s conceivable that Braun lied to Rodgers about his off-field behavior, like he did to everyone else.

Braun essentially admitting this week to wrongdoing makes Rodgers’ tweets from early 2012 look naïve at best.

Here is a sampling of Rodgers’ Twitter account after Braun’s original suspension was overturned:

♦ MLB and cable sports tried to sully the reputation of an innocent man. Picked the wrong guy to mess with. Truth will set u free #exonerated

♦ When its guilty until proven innocent, all u need are the facts. #howsthecrowmlb

♦ I'll let my buddy take it from here. All u idiots talking about technicality open up for some crow too.

♦ ...let the people hear the truth. Should get interesting. #exonerated #shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Also during that time someone on Twitter asked Rodgers if he really believed Braun never used performance-enhancing drugs, suggesting the Packers quarterback was delusional. Rodgers replied: “ya I'd put my salary next year on it. #ponyup #exonerated”

It’s a good thing Rodgers didn’t shake on that bet, or he would have been ponying up several million dollars.

Many of us have been lied to and burned by friends, so if Rodgers was blinded by loyalty and truly believed Braun was innocent, it makes sense that he so vociferously defended him. There are worse things to be accused of than being gullible.

But it will be interesting to see how Rodgers handles the Braun fallout --as of early Tuesday afternoon Rodgers hadn’t addressed the issue on Twitter.

Does he stick by his friend and applaud him for attempting to come clean, even if it took Braun getting caught red-handed to get to that point?

Or does he distance himself from Braun, who has a long way to go to earn back the trust of friends and fans alike?

Either way, Rodgers should be willing to admit that it was the Braun doubters who have been exonerated and his staunchest supporters who are eating crow.

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