It's possible to hate the way Ryan Braun cheated to a Hall of Fame start on his career, and to hate the way he got caught and denied it and blamed the specimen-collector, and to hate the way he got caught a second time, and even to hate the way he issued a long-winded and partially unbelievable apology ... and to hate all of that and still like what Ryan Braun is doing to make amends.
It's possible for me, anyway. Not for lots of you though. This I know, because this is what I tweeted Thursday night when the news broke that Braun is calling Brewers season ticket-holders and talking to them, one person at a time, to apologize for his actions. I retweeted the news with a single word: "Strong."
And this is what some of you tweeted back to me:
@GreggDoyelCBS Oh, please...seriously, Gregg? Your threshold for "strong" is mighty low...hoping that was sarcasm.— Casey Fleming (@shepp521) September 6, 2013
And on one level, I understand every bit of that outrage. Look, you want to see outrage over Ryan Braun? Here are the 550 words I spit out in July after Braun was busted a second time for cheating. I was outraged, not so much by his cheating but by the way he lied about it and the way he attacked innocent specimen collector Dino Laurenzi to perpetuate his lie. I'm still angry about that. It happened, and nothing Braun does will make it go away.
But still, there is new information to consider -- though some people don't deal well with new information. It makes them think about something they've already thought about and decided on. New information is as offensive to some people as the idea of painting their house:
But the house already has paint on it! I sort of thought house paint was one of those things I wouldn't have to think about again.
That's Ryan Braun: One of those things a lot of us thought we wouldn't have to think about again.
Well, think about the humility, the shame, involved in calling strangers to apologize. And not just strangers, but the people who have come to your games and worn your replica jerseys and begged for your autographs and basically treated you like a god. Only Braun isn't god-like anymore. He's groveling, and he's groveling for the forgiveness of the same people who once worshipped him.
And some people think this gesture by Braun isn't, at the very least, a strong one?
Some people need to think about this some more. It's OK to loathe who Ryan Braun was -- while appreciating or at least recognizing who he is trying to become.