GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers supports Ryan Braun and fully expects his friend to be exonerated in the wake of last week’s news that Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers star left fielder and National League MVP, tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in October.
ESPN’s "Outside the Lines" reported the positive test, citing two unnamed sources. Major League Baseball has not announced the positive test because Braun is disputing the result through arbitration.
“Ryan and I are good buddies, probably my best athlete friend. And we keep in touch obviously throughout the year I spend a lot of time with him. I was very surprised the news came out the way it did,” the Green Bay Packers quarterback said on his weekly radio show on ESPNMilwaukee and ESPNMadison Tuesday. “You would think that there would be some sort of confidentiality surrounding the situation, because he is appealing it.
“I 100 percent support Ryan and believe in him and it’s not going to affect our friendship in the least. I’m 100 percent supporting him and behind him and believe in everything that he says.”
In the wake of the ESPN report, Braun told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt via text message: “I can't wait to get that opportunity. This is all B.S. I am completely innocent.”
In a statement issued Saturday, a spokesman for Braun said there are “highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program."
Rodgers said after his initial answer that he didn’t want to comment further. But when asked if there just seemed to be something off about the story, Rodgers replied, “100 percent.”
“I’ve known Ryan for a while now and we’ve spent a lot of time hanging out. I’ve been in the locker room and I’ve seen him working out and stuff. It’s just ridiculous, the allegations,” Rodgers said. “I think as much as he probably can’t say a whole lot right now, just the fact that he was willing to take a test right after that (says something).
“I don’t know exactly all that’s out there, but I just am trusting that my good friend has not been using anything illegal. And I’m very confident that’s the case, because I know how much he cares about the integrity of the game and wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that.”
Rodgers also discussed the NFL’s testing policy for performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids and human growth hormone, criticizing the league’s initial proposed HGH policy and saying that he only takes supplements that have been cleared by the league.
“We get tested a lot, it’s completely random, you don’t know about it. You have a couple of hours to get it done once you’re notified first in the morning,” Rodgers said. “The HGH testing which was proposed by the NFL (during negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement) was absolutely ludicrous. Our people (from the NFL Players Association) went up to Canada and talked to the experts up there and the testing they wanted to implement was highly unreliable. All the data that we were told, the results, (there was) no research behind it.
“That being said, the NFL has a strict policy with clearing different substances, just making sure it’s clean. There’s only a few companies that have been cleared by the NFL. Anything other than that, I think, is silly to use. What little stuff I use as far as protein shakes is all stuff that’s in our weight room has been cleared by the NFL. Other than that, I really don’t try anything else.”
Asked what a drug test is like, Rodgers recalled former University of Oregon and Minnesota Vikings running back Onterrio Smith, who in May 2005 was detained at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport for carrying dried urine and a "mysterious" device that was later identified as the Whizzinator, a prosthetic he used to beat drug tests.
“Thanks to Onterrio Smith and the Whizzinator, it’s gotten a lot more intrusive over the last (few years). Since 2005 when I was drafted, I think the Whizzinator was shortly thereafter,” Rodgers said. “But it’s part of the process. They’ve got a job to do. You go in there, do your business and get out.”
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