By Scott Barancik, editor

Ryan Braun, the Jewish slugger who won the National League MVP award in 2011 and vehemently denied using performance-enhancing drugs thereafter, has been suspended for the rest of 2013 for violating baseball’s drug policy (see article).

“As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect,” Braun said in a statement. “I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions.”

That was as close as Braun — the 29-year-old son of an Israeli immigrant — came to admitting he had used steroids, human growth hormone, or some other pharmaceutical forbidden by Major League Baseball.

The suspension includes the final 65 games of the Milwaukee Brewers’ regular-season schedule as well as the playoffs, which the last-place Brewers (41-56) are unlikely to make. The team is owned by MLB commissioner Bud Selig.

Braun’s half-hearted admission, coming as it did after nearly two years of indignant claims of innocence, is unlikely to win him many admirers. Many will see his written statement as revisionist, his apology as forced. Indeed, ESPN and other sports outlets were spilling over with vitriol for the southern California native today.

The Jewish community is likely to respond similarly. To be sure, there will be supporters, among them some Jewish ballplayers. Cincinnati Reds prospect Jon Moscot tweeted this afternoon that he was “Wishing RB [Ryan Braun] all the best right now. Despite what anyone says I know his work ethic on a personal level and have the utmost respect for him.”

But as Tablet magazine pointed out last week, the Jewish community has never shown the sort of giddy idolatry for Braun that it did for Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg, or even modern stars like Kevin Youkilis.

Some of that may have to do with Braun’s lukewarm embrace of us. In a 2010 interview with USA Today, Braun claimed to be “really proud” to be Jewish but went on to express skepticism about the Jewish community’s support. “I don’t want groups claiming me now because I’m having success,” he said.

When Braun apologized today to “anyone that I may have disappointed,” he mentioned the Brewers organization, its fans, and his teammates, but he did not mention the Jewish community.

On Jewish Baseball News’ Facebook page, a commenter was unequivocal about today’s greatest Jewish player. “He is a cheat, plain and simple.”

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