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Aaron Rodgers may lose $4.5m gamble as baseball star admits to drug use

The Green Bay Packers QB may pay dearly for his fervent belief in Ryan Braun’s innocence.

Aaron Rodgers publicly backed Ryan Braun.
Aaron Rodgers publicly backed Ryan Braun.
Image: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

GREEN BAY PACKERS quarterback Aaron Rodgers rode to the defence of his friend, Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, in 2012 when his drug-use suspension was overturned on a technicality.

Using the Twitter hashtag #exonerated and staking his $4.5m a year salary on backing Braun’s innocence, Rodgers showed some impressive and stubborn solidarity with a fellow sports professional. Braun has now been suspended for the remainder of the season for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy.

Commissioner Bud Selig announced the suspension Monday and said it was effective immediately, which means Braun will miss the final 65 games of the Brewers’ season.

Rodgers has since been quiet since the announcement and has steered clear of Twitter. The tweet staking his year’s salary, sent out on 23 Fenruary 2012, has since been deleted but USA Today produced the screengrab on Monday. Here is another tweet Rodgers, a former SuperBowl MVP, sent out last year:

Braun is definitely losing a $3.25m chunk of his salary following his suspension for the rest of the season.

“As I have acknowledged in the past I am not perfect,” said the 29-year-old who was the most valuable player of the National League in 2011. “I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of baseball fans and especially those in Milwaukee.”

Braun is the first player to be suspended in the wake of an investigation into Biogenesis, a Florida clinic suspected of supplying performance enhancing drugs to top baseball players.

Braun will begin serving his suspension with the Brewers’ Monday night game against San Diego. He will also miss any potential post-season games. He was previously slapped with a 50-game suspension in late 2011 but he was able to get it overturned in February 2012. He tested positive for elevated testosterone levels, but won the appeal on a technicality when he challenged how the test samples were stored.

The exact nature of Braun’s offence was not specified. But it comes after he and other players — including New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez — were linked to the Biogenesis of America clinic run by Anthony Bosch.

- Additional reporting © AFP, 2013

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Patrick McCarry

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