Ryan Braun says in interview that heckling doesn't faze him

In an interview that ran in the Monday edition of USA Today, Brewers rightfielder Ryan Braun says the heckling he hears from opposing fans doesn't faze him in the least.

Braun tells Bob Nightengale: "Dude, say what you want about me, but I am strong. Mentally, and emotionally, I am strong."

"This doesn't bother me," Braun added. "People may have something new to yell now, but it's really no different than anything I've gone though. I've never gone to Chicago and had them cheer for me. I've never gone to St. Louis and had them say, "I hope you do great.' Nobody's fans have ever cheered for the opposing team's best player.

"I'm sure it will be a bit adventuresome at times this year, but if anything, it's probably better now. Normally, you go to Philly and Chicago, and they're talking about your mom, your sister, your girlfriend, whatever. So, now, it will be just about me.''

Braun, of course, referred to the heckling and booing that has ramped up since he accepted a 65-game, season-ending suspension in 2013 for being caught using a banned substance in MLB's investigation of the Biogenesis clinic.

In the article, Nightengale writes that Braun wishes he could tell the whole story, that he never had heard previously of Biogenesis operator Tony Bosch or set foot in the clinic. Of course, you didn't have to go to the clinic to purchase the PEDs it was selling.

"There's just no reason to get into it and continue to bring this stuff up,'' Braun said. "It's bad for baseball. It's bad for the team. It's bad for me. It's not good for anyone.

"Well, it's probably good for (TV) ratings, or else people wouldn't continue to do it.''

Braun tested positive in October 2011 for synthetic testosterone, a banned substance in the MLB drug program. He appealed that result and won on a chain-of-custody argument but eventually was snared in the Biogenesis investigation, which revealed he had purchased synthetic testosterone in the form of lozenges and creams.

The article states that Braun "believed at the time, it was perfectly legal." That is a remarkable assertion because players are tested for synthetic testosterone, a substance that is on the banned list in MLB's drug program.

Many folks were more upset with Braun's cover-up of the PED use than the actual use itself, because he lied about it for a year and a half, attacked the MLB drug program and pointed a finger at specimen collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. According to Braun, he has since made amends with Laurenzi.

As for the criticism and response he has heard from fans, Braun said, "All this stuff, really, is indicative of a larger issue in our society. People love negativity. There are so many great stories out there, so many wonderful things to focus on, but people focus on the negative because a lot of people aren't happy in life.''

Braun figures to be the most scrutinized player in the majors this year as people wait to see if he'll perform up to his high standards without the benefit of PEDs. Braun left no doubt in his USA Today interview how he expects to perform on the field.

"I'm one of the league leaders in confidence," he said. "If I perform like I've always done, I'll be one of the best players in this game. I don't need any added motivation or drama at work.

"I'll just let my work speak for itself, as every artist should."

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