Oct 2, 2013

Ryan Braun: Can He Ever Be a Role Model?

This fall, Kar-Ben released the second revised edition of Jewish Sports Stars: Athletic Heroes of the Past and Present. The book cover was originally set to feature Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman and Major League Baseball slugger and 2011 MVP Ryan Braun.

On July 22, 2013, however, MLB suspended Braun for 65 games for his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic, which was known to have provided illegal performance enhancing drugs to several MLB players, as well as for "conduct detrimental to baseball."

As a result, Kar-Ben chose to remove Braun from the book's cover. Said Kar-Ben publisher Joni Sussman, "While Ryan Braun is a very talented baseball player and we were originally excited to have a contemporary sports figure of his talent and stature with such a strong identification to his Jewish heritage on the cover, there was no question that, after the steroids scandal surfaced, his image was tarnished and he was no longer appropriate to serve as a role model for Jewish kids."

Braun's image has been replaced with a photo of Sandy Koufax, one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball history.

The revised cover
Although Braun's entry in the book remains, the following addendum was added inside the book's back cover: "Shortly after the publication of this book, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun (pages 6-8) was suspended for 65 games, the remainder of the 2013 Major League Baseball season, for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy."

Considering his recent mistakes, can Ryan Braun ever become a suitable role model for Jewish children? What Jewish role models are the best for very athletically-minded youth?

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