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Trouble Brewing?

by Robb Reel

This is not a story about Ryan Braun.

It's about Ryan Fraud.

Milwaukee Brewers fan says she was asked to leave Miller Park Wednesday night because of her shirt.  Karen Eidem has one of those faux-jersey T-shirts with Braun and his number [8] on the back.  Clever gal that she is, Eidem took some paper and some tape and got crafty.  She covered the B with an F and the N with a D.

Well played, Karen.  Well played.

Only Miller Park security didn't think so.  Eidem claims she was tapped on the shoulder by someone official, who told her she'd either have to change or leave.  She turned the shirt inside and stayed through the game.

Now, before someone cries "Free speech!" and starts wring hands and gnashing teeth, I could explain in detail -- citing case law and quoting the Constitution -- why this is not a First Amendment issue, but I don't want to waste the time.  Sufficed to say, her civil rights weren't violated.  However, this still could have turned into a PR nightmare for the team.

Someone in the Brewer front office heard about the incident and quickly issued a statement.  The team contacted Eidem and offered her a ticket to another game.  The statement read, in part:

"In this case, the fan absolutely should have been able to wear the jersey without any intervention by our staff.  We welcome the opportunity for fans to express their opinions.  The only circumstances that would warrant us intervening is if someone were to display a message or item that would be considered offensive to other fans. This is not a case where that line was crossed, and we're sorry for the inconvenience to her."

It is clear that the Brewers do not need any more bad publicity right now, in the wake of Braun's suspension for PED use... and clearly lying when he was caught the last time and escaped punishment on a technicality.  The key to avoiding disaster is these situations is get out front quickly, actually apologize [the piece most people and companies miss] and make the other party whole.  Otherwise, you spend what seems like forever trying to outrun the snowball of negative coverage and sentiment.

Well played, Brewers.  Well played.

[Braun hits a homerun during the 2011 NLDS against Arizona. Photo: REUTERS/Jeff Haynes ]