I do not know if Ryan Braun is telling the entire truth. On the surface, it seems rather dubious that his use was only that small window of time that he mentions in 2011. After all, we have heard the same thing from A-Rod and perhaps we cannot be convinced to believe anything at this point. But his level of contriteness and accepting the full blame for his actions was a bit refreshing.
In his statement listed in the linked article above, Braun outlines why he lied and when he lied. He makes an honest attempt to write about why his first reaction was the wrong one and that he compounded the problem by not being honest at the time. He apologizes to the man he smeared who handled his original tainted test.
We have heard a lot of apologies over the years, not just from baseball's PED users, but in politics and in business life. They all seem to be veiled in carefully considered words that deflect as much blame as possible. But this one seems a bit different. Ryan Braun has the sound (in his statement) of a contrite man who has a lot to apologize for and does not hide from doing so.
The statement gives hope that his overwhelming hubris and the over-arching pride--that comes from being gifted in a sport that grants entitlement from being very good at something that pays so well--will lead to personal growth for him in the future. His reputation is already tarnished. But he has a lot of life to live ahead of him and humility is a good start for the future.
I do not personally care what he did to his body. I have always maintained as much. But I hate, hate, hate dishonesty and that Nixon-like disease when people cannot admit they were wrong even when caught red-handed. We saw it with Bill Clinton. We have seen it a thousand times over the years. I hate that Braun was so self-righteous when he was guilty all along.
To release a statement that was so introspective was refreshing. It puts a little humanity back in how I view the man. I can at least understand a bit of the reasons he did what he did even if I wish he had not done them. With Braun, I hated the stance he took when caught much more than for what he was caught. His statement does not tear down that hate at his action and the bitterness that resulted. But it does knock quite a few bricks out of that wall.
I just hope that he was not lying about when he used and for how long. That would suck if we found out differently. It is the only part of the statement that gives me pause. But his level of humility and his total acceptance of his sins as his fault goes a long way in forgiving him. Forgiveness is the most powerful tool in the universe. Perhaps we have been given an opportunity to begin that process with Ryan Braun.