Akermanis posts apology to Braun - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Akermanis posts apology to Braun

25/04/2008 10:33:39 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldogs star Jason Akermanis has apologised to West Coast's Michael Braun, saying "envy" was behind him wrongly suspecting Braun had used performance-enhancing drugs.

The apology stems from a newspaper article published last year, in which Akermanis wrote that he suspected an opposing player had used performance-enhancing drugs several years ago - when Akermanis was playing for the Brisbane Lions - because he "ran like Superman".

Akermanis did not name the player in the News Limited article, but the Seven Network and Fairfax Radio Network later alleged the Brownlow medallist was referring to Braun.

Last week, Braun was awarded damages of $60,000 and an apology by the Seven and Fairfax Radio Network, it was reported on the Nine Network.

Braun steadfastly denied he had ever used performance-enhancing substances, and was later cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.

Akermanis did not pay Braun any money, Nine reported.

Akermanis published the apology on the Bulldogs' website "pursuant to an agreement reached by Michael Braun, Jason Akermanis, Channel 7 and 3AW".

"I apologise to him without any reservations. I am truly sorry for the hurt and trouble I have caused him. I just hope one day he can forgive me for the trouble I have caused," Akermanis wrote.

"I wrote this article because I didn't think it was right that this man should be branded in any way anymore.

"This time egg is on my face and I can live with that."

Akermanis also expressed disappointment at the media outlets who had named Braun.

"Last year, I talked about a situation which, for me, was old news but relevant with my thoughts at the time. I talked about my suspicions of a player using something that was illegal.

"Now, I have never mentioned the player's name in public until now.

"When Channel 7 decided to tell the world who they thought I was referring to I couldn't have been more disappointed.

"Here was a player through no fault of his own being branded without any proof.

"How would I have felt if I were in Braun's shoes? Well not very happy would be an understatement.

"In the end, it was ugly for everyone. Braun is branded, I am labelled a dobber and the media let some good people down."

Akermanis said he had instructed his lawyers to ask Braun for a "private chat" between the players during defamation proceedings in January.

"As we sat there I spoke of my disappointment for this whole affair," he wrote.

"I also spoke about my sadness for him because in the end it was the last thing I wanted.

"He spoke about the strain of having his named mentioned nearly every time the West Coast's name was mentioned about drugs.

"As he was describing his work ethic to become a better runner because of his height I couldn't help but think I made a mistake.

"My suspicion was probably nothing more than a bit of envy.

"I supposed he just work (sic) a little harder than I did at the time.

"After we spoke about his knee soreness because, guess what, he runs a lot, I knew I had pointed my finger in the wrong direction.

"... To me Michael came across as a genuine man and wanted to be remembered as a hard working but fair player who got everything out of his ability.

"When we were finishing up I told him that he would probably have very little respect for me but I told him I respected him a great deal both as a player and person."

Akermanis prefaced the apology by suggesting he still had no regrets about his original article - because "regrets are for fools".

"... At least that is what I think," he wrote.

"For me, what you are today is a product of everything you have done in the past to lead you to now.

"It doesn't mean that you wish you didn't do stuff.

"... At least I am man enough to admit when I have made a mistake."

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