Monday, February 27, 2012

The Ryan Braun Mess

I feel the need to address this situation. I think it should be obvious to anyone that, although an arbitrator ruled in Braun's favor, nothing about the overturned suspension suggests Braun has been vindicated.

Braun's suspension was overturned on a technicality. MLB's collective bargaining agreement requires that test samples be delivered to the lab within a specific window of time, a window that was not met here because the sample was taken on a weekend when the lab was closed. The longer window would not have had any contaminative effect on the sample, but it technically was a violation of the CBA and thus Braun's test result was invalidated by the arbitrator (though not scientifically).

Braun had synthetic testosterone in his system. That didn't get into his urine because the sample arrived a day late. All we know, at this point, is that Braun's lawyers are 1) clever and 2) well read on their CBA. That's it. I wasn't there when Braun took the synthetic testosterone, but I'm pretty sure he cheated. He would've been caught and without recourse to a technicality had MLB had the good sense to take his sample on a Friday. That is not vindication by any means. That is not 'the truth coming out' as Braun would like to have us believe. If he really didn't take a PED, then he has to do better than 'the sample arrived a day late, invalidating the test results according to the CBA, though not any actual science on drug testing'.

At day's end, all that has been overturned is the suspension. No doubt has been cast on the test results itself, which cannot be a grounding of Braun's innocence. I'm not against due process. If MLB messed up here, they shouldn't be able to suspend Braun. I am, however, against sanctimony. Don't act all high and mighty, or even worse, innocent, just because your drug test was taken on the wrong day and stored in a refrigerator for longer than the CBA, though not the science of testing, allows (those of us who have paid attention to the numerous doping scandals in cycling are aware of the fact that when a rider fails a test, a back up sample is then also tested to confirm the first result, which means the extra day or so Braun's sample was in a fridge did not have the effect of corrupting the sample itself).

This might be different if there was any evidence the sample had been tampered with, but there isn't. Also, we'll remember that Braun's initial statements were that the positive result must have stemmed from a drug he was taking for a personal medical issue. Now the positive result was from tampering (which is what the 'they didn't deliver it on time' argument is supposed to imply to a presumably gullible public). I know bull$#!% when I see it, and this is bull$#!%.


Anonymous said...

Exactly my point!

Rich Mahogany said...

This is the best take I've seen on the subject, by far. The distinction between due process and sanctimony is dead on.

You're also one of the few (only?) people to observe that Braun changed his story from justification to tampering. He's hoping that most people are too dumb to notice, and he's probably right.

Rob B said...

Well said.

Steve said...

What I heard was that his lawyers choose the best way to stop the suspension. Now he will have to try other avenues to clear his name. I feel that if you are innocent (I'm not saying he is, I'm saying if)you should be shouting from the mountain tops that you are innocent. If you took other medication that may have shown up as "illegal" or "banned" you have two choices one, apologize to the baseball fans for your wrong doings (cheating) or two, sue the drug company using every cent you have and appeal to every court because you have to. America loves a remorseful man or a man fighting for what's right.

Anonymous said...

That's a good point Steve. The bottom line is that he cheated. There is no other way around it. With the exception of tampering, the only other way illegal drugs show up in your urine sample is because you used them.

Rich Mahogany said...

Braun will never clear his name because he can't. He tested positive and his suspension was overturned for an unrelated reason.

His lawyers deserve credit for getting their client's suspension overturned. Braun himself deserves nothing, he has given inconsistent explanations for the positive, has never expressed remorse or admitted guilt, and has played the wronged man despite giving no specifics about what he actually did or how he was wronged.