DENVER -- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers bet his salary on good buddy Ryan Braun's innocence. On Friday, a dismayed Rodgers told reporters that he was lied to, and he cast doubt upon the fellow MVP's friendship and business partnership.
"I was shocked, I really was," Rodgers said, according to Fox Sports Wisconsin's Paul Imig, who is covering the opening of Packers training camp this week. "I was backing up a friend who looked at me in the eye on multiple occasions and repeatedly denied these allegations, said they weren't true. It's disappointing, not only for myself as a friend, but for, obviously, Wisconsin sports fans. ... It doesn't feel great being lied to like that. I'm disappointed about way it went down."
Rodgers and Braun struck up Wisconsin's most famous friendship in 2009 -- a pair of fellow Californians who were about the same age and were both single. They both won MVP Awards for their exploits on the field in 2011 -- Braun the National League MVP who led the Brewers to within two wins of the World Series, and Rodgers the NFL MVP who'd won the Super Bowl the previous season.
Their names and likenesses adorn 8-twelve MVP Bar and Grill in suburban Brookfield -- a nod to Braun's No. 8 and Rodgers' No. 12 -- with a second location planned to open later this year at Bayshore Mall just north of Milwaukee.
Rodgers told reporters that he'd been in contact with Braun since Braun was suspended on Monday. Asked whether their business dealings would continue, Rodgers said, "That's yet to be determined."
Rodgers was among the most vocal supporters of Braun during and after Braun's successful appeal of a suspension during the 2011-12 offseason, often on Twitter.
Last year, a 37-year-old flight nurse from Denver named Todd Sutton tweeted at Rodgers, "you really believe he didn't [use] PEDs????," calling Rodgers "delusional."
Rodgers shot back, "ya, I'd put my salary next year on it," with the hashtags "pony up" and "exonerated."
Rodgers' base salary this season is $4.5 million.
"I don't regret backing a friend up," Rodgers said Friday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Obviously, in hindsight, a more measured approach would obviously be a better course of action. I definitely believe in forgiveness and moving forward. He has a tough task in front of him moving forward with his career, on and off the field.
"As far as the business goes, right now I'm focused on football, and I have people who can help me with those issues."
Brewers apologize to fan over 'Fraud' shirt
DENVER -- The Brewers apologized to a female fan this week after security officials forced her to remove a T-shirt she had altered in reaction to Ryan Braun's season-ending suspension.
According to WTMJ-TV, Milwaukee's NBC affiliate, Karen Eidem was singled out for a Braun shirt she had modified to read "FRAUD" across the back. Eidem told the station she was told to turn the shirt inside out or leave Miller Park.
The Brewers released a statement to the station that read: "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. We will reach out to Ms. Eidem to invite her to another game this year as our guest."
Brewers officials have been reaching out to fans and sponsors in the days since Monday, when Braun was suspended by Major League Baseball for the rest of the season and admitted "mistakes."
In an email interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, club chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger said sales of Braun merchandise had actually increased since the suspension was levied, though he declined to speculate about the motivation for those purchases.
Principal owner Mark Attanasio thanked fans Wednesday for their continued support and said the Brewers were discussing ways to give back before the end of the season in light of the team's poor play and Braun's suspension.
Roenicke to players: 'You can get through this'
DENVER -- The Brewers' usual pre-series meeting on Friday afternoon covered a whole lot more than the Colorado Rockies.
Manager Ron Roenicke gathered players for nearly 40 minutes and delivered forward-looking remarks about his expectations for the remainder of a season in which everything has gone wrong, from injuries to an under-performing starting rotation to Monday's bombshell suspension of star left fielder Ryan Braun.
Roenicke also addressed the team in the wake of Braun's suspension on Monday, but that focused on the imminent media circus, and Friday "was more about going forward for the rest of the year. I've mentioned to you guys, it's been a tough year. We all know that. It's been a tough year on [the players], but you can get through this, and the more you get through this tough situation, it makes you better ballplayers."
Beginning with Friday's game at Coors Field, the Brewers still had 61 games to play.
"Mostly, it was about what has been going on in the field," Roenicke said. "I know that we're not at full strength, we don't have our big horses in there, but still there are some things I wanted them to know, and how I felt about the rest of the season and where we need to be and what we need to do to win a lot of ballgames. ...
"I think they're still focused. I wanted to make sure, [because] we need to be."
He used Sunday's 10-8 loss to the Padres, in which the Brewers faced deficits of 6-0 and 10-3, as an example.
"I can live with yesterday's ballgame," Roenicke said. "Yeah, we lost. We didn't pitch well. Yo [Gallardo] didn't pitch well. [Michael] Gonzalez had an outing like he hasn't had in a long time. And yet we get way down, and the next thing I know, we're fighting back, and we have a monster inning, and I'm seeing a lot of really good at-bats, a lot of good things happening out there on the field. That's the type of game that I think we build off of, even though we lost the game. That type of effort and attitude is going to win games for us."
• Roenicke said Thursday's roster move -- first baseman/outfielder Sean Halton was optioned to Triple-A Nashville and right-hander Rob Wooten was promoted to the Majors -- was as much about having Halton "get his swing right" as it was about getting an extra arm for the bullpen.
"When he came up to us, he was really good, even though he made some outs. He was making hard outs," Roenicke said. "He was confident. Then I didn't play him as much, and all of a sudden, the at-bats -- he started chasing more."
Of Wooten, Roenicke said, "The nice thing is, he can go a couple of innings. He's not just a one-inning guy, because he was a closer [at Nashville]. I feel real comfortable knowing I can bring him in, and he's going to throw strikes.
• Roenicke wrote two lineups on Friday, one with Rickie Weeks in the leadoff spot and another with Norichika Aoki in that role and Weeks hitting fifth. He chose the former.
"We've been pretty good offensively for the last couple of games, so that's why I stuck with it," Roenicke said.
• First baseman Mat Gamel turned 28 on Friday. He is in the midst of a second straight season lost to knee injury.
• Friday marked one year since reliever Jim Henderson's Major League debut after parts of 10 seasons in the Minor Leagues. He was asked how his life has changed like then.
"Day to day, it feels the same, but the biggest thing that changed is the offseason, being able to focus more on baseball instead of working camps and trying to get money," Henderson said. "[The callup] feels like yesterday."
Henderson's offseason jobs before his big league breakthrough include a gig with a company that produced business cards. The year before his callup, he ran a strength and conditioning program for the Okotoks Dawgs, a touring club from Calgary for which Henderson was a founding member.
• Right-hander Eric Arnett, the team's first-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, was scheduled to begin a Minor League rehab assignment on Friday with Rookie-level Arizona. Arnett, who has a 5.30 ERA in four Minor League seasons, underwent right ACL reconstruction in February.