MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Ryan Braun on Wednesday, September 18th was back in Milwaukee, making an appearance for the first time since he was suspended on July 22nd without pay for the rest of the Brewers season.
Braun was suspended without pay for a large part of the 2013 season for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Braun initially claimed his connection with the Biogenesis Clinic in Miami was simply for consulting services during his successful 2012 appeal.
In December 2011, a report of Braun testing positive for performance enhancing drugs surfaced.
In February 2012, arbitrators ruled that the chain of custody for Braun’s urine sample in question was compromised, clearing Braun from any MLB punishment. He forcefully defended his name at a Spring Training press conference.
In August 2013, following his suspension, Braun released a written apology, and a letter to fans.
A few weeks ago, it was learned Braun was personally calling season ticket holders and other fans to apologize.
On Wednesday, Braun delivered lunch, bringing pizza, and spoke with employees at the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
Staff at the AIDS Resource Center was told they would be attending a free lunch with a special guest. FOX6 News is told when Braun walked in, he was greeted with a standing ovation.
“There were a fair amount of us who freaked out. Totally surreal. This was just a great day at work!” Julie Blotz said.
“Ryan got an incredible round of applause. He got a round of applause because people here know how genuine he is in the fight against HIV and AIDS,” Mike Gifford said.
During Wednesday’s event, Braun thanked the group for their hard work in the fight against HIV and AIDS. He also alluded to his own recent problems — saying they are nothing compared with what the center’s patients are battling.
“He talked about the challenges he`s facing, acknowledged them, but also acknowledged that we had greater challenges in society and he`s not gonna focus on himself,” Gifford said.
Last year, Braun served as the honorary chair of AIDS Walk Wisconsin, an event that raised $361,392 for HIV prevention, care and treatment services. He has worked with the center for years.
The AIDS Resource Center provided the photos above of Braun at the center on Wednesday to FOX6 News.
Braun later visited Miller Park.
“He was just in to say ‘hi.’ He missed the game and he missed the guys. He wanted to come in. He didn`t want to be a distraction and I told him he wouldn`t be, so he came in and I`m glad he did. He looked good I think all the guys were really happy to see him,” Brewers Manager Ron Roenicke said.
While it seemed as though Braun got a warm welcome on Wednesday, some fans outside Miller Park say they need a little more time to forgive.
“I`m glad that he has finally accepted it and finally come forth but at the same time it took that long so it`s gonna take a little bit longer,” Ben Holter said.