MANKATO, Minn. -- I wasn't in attendance at Friday's media availability with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. From a distance, though, it appears Rodgers handled his once-vehement defense of now-disgraced baseball player Ryan Braun with appropriate levels of honesty, personal culpability and humanity.
Rodgers didn't mince words, saying he was "shocked" that Braun lied to him about using performance enhancing drugs. "I was backing up a friend who looked at me in the eye on multiple occasions and repeatedly denied these allegations, said they weren't true," Rodgers said."... It doesn't feel great being lied to like that, and I'm disappointed about the way it all went down."
He said he had no regrets about defending a friend but acknowledged he went overboard in February 2012, when he gloated via Twitter when Braun's initial suspension was overturned. Rodgers admitted that "in hindsight, a more measured approach next time would obviously be a better course of action."
And finally, Rodgers didn't close the door on his friendship with Braun. "People make mistakes," he said. "I definitely believe in forgiveness and moving forward. Obviously, he has a tough task in front of him, moving forward with his career on and off the field."
As we discussed earlier this week, Braun's lies put hundreds of people in a terrible spot. Rodgers staked his good name on Braun's innocence and was left to answer for a defense that once appeared passionate but in hindsight looked overdone and ultimately damaging. To his credit, Rodgers didn't run from the issue or offer clichés. He's hurt, he knows that his tone made the situation worse for himself, yet he didn't slam Braun personally. Now, it's time to move on.