Aaron Rodgers says Ryan Braun looked him in the eye and lied to him
Rodgers on the latest Braun news: "I was shocked, I really was, just like many of you were."
Today, Aaron Rodgers offered his first public comments on the news that his friend, business partner, and fellow Californian-turned-Wisconsin sports superstar Ryan Braun has been suspended for the rest of the MLB season for violating baseball's performance enhancing drug prevention policies.
As we reminded you early this week, when allegations about Braun's PED use were first swirling in early 2012, Rodgers took to Twitter and mounted an outspoken defense of Braun's innocence.
"MLB and cable sports tried to sully the reputation of an innocent man," Rodgers wrote, going as far as to say he'd bet his salary Braun didn't use PEDs.
During a news conference today, Rodgers acknowledged he should've taken "a more measured approach" while defending his friend, but said he was only as outspoken as he was because Braun "looked me in the eye on multiple occasions and repeatedly denied these allegations and said they were not true."
Here, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is a transcript of Rodgers's comments:
I was shocked, I really was, just like many of you were. I was backing up a friend. He looked me in the eye on multiple occasions and repeatedly denied these allegations and said they were not true.
So, it is disappointing, not only for myself as a friend, but for obviously Wisconsin sports fans, Brewer fans, really baseball fans. It doesn't feel great being lied to like that and I'm disappointed in the way it all went down...
"I don't regret backing a friend up. obviously in hindsight a more measured approach would obviously be a better course of action. I definitely believe in forgiveness and moving forward. He has a tough task in front of him moving forward with his career, on and off the field.
Rodgers was also asked whether he'd continue his business partnership with Braun. The two jointly own the upscale 8-twelve MVP Bar & Grill in the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield, and a second 8-twelve is scheduled to open in a few months -- if Rodgers gives the go-ahead.
"That's yet to be determined," Rodgers replied. "As far as the business goes, right now I'm focused on football and I have people who can help me with [business] issues."
Finally, Rodgers was asked if he still considers Braun a friend. He gave a less-than-definitive reply.
"I was disappointed in the way it went down... I trusted him," Rodgers said. "That's the thing that probably hurts the most."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.