Restaurant group ends relationship with Braun
Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, who in July accepted a 65-game suspension for his ties to the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal, is still seeing fallout from corporate America.
On Thursday, SURG Restaurant Group, the company that manages restaurants in Wisconsin affiliated with Braun, announced it will sever its relationship with him.
"We've appreciated the relationship we had with Ryan over the last several years, and the entire SURG family wishes him success in the future," Michael Polaski, CEO and co-owner of SURG, said in a statement.
The group had a licensing deal with Braun for an Italian restaurant called Ryan Braun's Graffito Restaurant. SURG said it will keep the restaurant open until the end of the year "to honor its pre-existing obligations to its customers and employees."
SURG also said it will change the name of its 8-Twelve MVP Bar & Grill -- the numbers of Braun and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, respectively -- at its current location, as well as at another restaurant that will open this fall. The company's deal with Rodgers will remain unchanged.
"We look forward to the future with optimism, particularly with the opportunity to introduce and rebrand two, new exciting restaurant experiences," Omar Shaikh, SURG president and co-owner, said in a statement.
The restaurant deal seemingly is the last shoe to drop for Braun, who also lost a deal with convenience store Kwik Trip and a shoe deal with Nike after he was suspended.
A month after accepting the suspension, Braun apologized in a statement through the Brewers, admitting that he had used a banned substance in cream and lozenge form.
"It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately," Braun said in the statement.
"By coming forward when I did and waiving my right to appeal any sanctions that were going to be imposed, I knew I was making the correct decision and taking the first step in the right direction. It was important to me to begin my suspension immediately to minimize the burden on everyone I had so negatively affected -- my teammates, the entire Brewers organization, the fans and all of MLB."
In other Braun developments Thursday, the Brewers said the slugger has started to call some season-ticket holders to apologize.
In an interview with 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Afternoon News," COO Rick Schlesinger said Braun has been trying to pass an olive branch to the Brewers' fan base as a first step toward reconciliation.
"This was all Ryan's thing," Schlesinger said. "He said, 'I'd like to call fans, but with an emphasis on ticket buyers, miniplan holders, reach out, apologize, listen.' We said, 'Great!' It was all his initiative. He didn't want publicity about it."
Schlesinger said part of Braun's recent efforts to reach out include telling fans, "'I hope my mistakes don't sour you on attending the games, being a fan.' ... They give him credit for calling."
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