Braun would make the same call again

Photo by Steve Paluch

Photo by Steve Paluch

Almost everything that can be said about Ryan Braun’s brazen cheating and massive mendacity has been said, except for one dimension: his 2011 (or earlier) decision to break the rules could be viewed as an entirely rational one.
Ethics aside, and in economic terms only, he made a calculated economic call.

The money in the game is so outlandish that an economic creature, an amoral decision maker, would conclude that the risk of getting caught was worth $100 million in the bank.

Braun’s contracts have been reported at around $130 million all in. He stands to lose about $3 million in pay while suspended for the rest of the 2013 season, and he will lose several millions in endorsements.
He is disgraced, but he’s not in jail like Bernie Madoff, and he’s got nine figures in the bank. He played the odds; he got caught; but he is set for life, and then some.

In purely monetary terms, he made a thoroughly rational decision.

For most people, reputation is more important than money. But there is a percentage of people who would do just about anything for the dough. Especially for big dough.

Braun never was a warm, fuzzy guy. So the relationships based on ethical behavior that make most of us happy may not apply to him. He’s a different bird.

My guess is that if had to make the same decision again, he would dope up again, take the money and take the consequences of Bud Selig’s wrath.

Given the same kind of opportunity, he would have a plenty of company. His soon-to-be-outed fellow players did the same amoral calculus.

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  • Adrian Velasquez

    I believe that it is just a matter of time when Braun and other athletes will be considered trend setters. That the day is coming where doping will be acceptable because we want the biggest most powerful athletes on our team. The reason is simple. We want to win at all costs and there are billions of dollars at stake. It is about the money not winning based upon natural skill and abilities and honor. The same goes for corporate America. “In order for me to win -= you HAVE to be defeated.

  • Betty Stiles

    What about the. Kids who look up to the sports figures? How disgusting these “stars” are!!!

  • Marc Eisen

    John: An economic calculation indeed. I think Braun’s thinking is symptomatic of the times. I put him inthe same category as the execs at Goldman Sachs. They figured out a way to game the aluminum market and makes tens of millions of profits by distorting its price without providing a penny’s worth of value. They’re all cheaters.

    Capitalism is the best economic system the world has seen, but it should not be confused with an ethical system. We look elsewhere for those values.

  • Perry Lindquist

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record: as long as government is subsidizing professional sports (and the Wall Street crooks for that matter), the economics of this type of decision-making will not change. A good start to a renewed professional sports economy might start with ending government funded stadiums and tax breaks for luxury boxes. Who knows, it may even lead to more team loyalty and ethics, while bringing the price of a ticket back down to Earth.

    • JohnTorinus

      Who could argue that the billionaires and millionaires who won professional teams who play for them need government subsidies?

    • JohnTorinus

      Except for the Green Bay Packers, a non-profit corporation. (The only non-profit, stock corporation in the world)