The Hebrew Hammer is deep in foul territory.
Disgraced baseball star and former MVP Ryan Braun, who was already nearing the line of being Bad for the Jews, may have now slid headfirst across it. It was reported today that after Braun was first accused of using steroids last year, the suspended Brewers outfielder called a number of his star peers and told them that the man who had collected Braun’s urine sample was both a Chicago Cubs fan and an anti-Semite.
Braun sought backing from Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, whom he had beaten out for the National League MVP months earlier, along with Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, among others, sources said. He reached out to peers in hopes they would publicly stick up for him following an expected suspension.
The charges against Braun would ultimately be dismissed on a technicality, but earlier this year, he was finally suspended.
We can forgive Braun for abusing the tribal loyalties that keep fans of the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs from coexisting peacefully, but (if the unnamed accounts are true) in playing the anti-Semitism card to garner support among fellow players, Braun committed a cardinal sin in cheapening a real threat to Jews around the world. Consider the volley of anti-Semitic reactions to Braun’s suspension earlier this year.
Elsewhere in the Brauniverse, Tablet’s parenting columnist Marjorie Ingall brings our attention to the *updated* cover of the forthcoming Fall 2013 children’s book, Jewish Sports Stars: Athletic Heroes Past and Present, which notably no longer features Braun’s punim. Jewish children’s book publisher Kar-Ben sent a letter explaining the last-minute swap:
“Due to this unfortunate occurance, and as Kar-Ben can no longer consider Ryan Braun to be a role model for children, Kar-Ben is creating a new cover replacing Ryan Braun with Sandy Koufax.”
At least Aly Raisman’s still there.
Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.