Blog Entry

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

Posted on: February 23, 2012 5:12 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 9:44 pm
 


By Matt Snyder


Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has won his appeal and will not serve a suspension for a positive drug test late last season, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has confirmed. The news was first reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. This means arbitrator Shyam Das ruled Braun was not guilty in his failed test -- which showed elevated testosterone levels.

The appeal was held in front of Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association and Das, a third-party arbitrator. The chain of custody of the sample is where Braun won the appeal. His side argued it was improperly handled and there must have been enough evidence to convince Das.

The sample in question was collected on Oct. 1, a Saturday and the day the Brewers opened the NL playoffs. The collector did not send the sample to the laboratory until Monday, thinking it would be more secure at home than at a Federal Express office during the weekend. Baseball's drug agreement states that "absent unusual circumstances, the specimens should be sent by FedEx to the laboratory on the same day they are collected."

Major League Baseball, for one, is not happy. Here's the statement released by MLB executive vice president for labor relations Rob Manfred:

Braun wins appeal
“Major League Baseball considers the obligations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program essential to the integrity of our game, our Clubs and all of the players who take the field. It has always been Major League Baseball’s position that no matter who tests positive, we will exhaust all avenues in pursuit of the appropriate discipline. We have been true to that position in every instance, because baseball fans deserve nothing less.

“As a part of our drug testing program, the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association agreed to a neutral third party review for instances that are under dispute. While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”

Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, called the decision "a real gut-kick to clean athletes."

Das has been baseball's independent arbitrator since 2000 and this is the first successful drug test-related appeal.

Positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs have been relatively rare under the major league testing program, with just two others in 2011: Tampa Bay outfielder Manny Ramirez and Colorado Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo. Ramirez at first retired rather than face a 100-game suspension for a second positive test. Now that he wants to play again and since he missed most of last year, he will only need to serve a 50-game penalty.

Braun has maintained his innocence since word of his positive test leaked after the Winter Meetings. Sources told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler that when Braun found out he had tested positive for a banned substance he requested a second test, which came up negative. Braun then appealed the first failed test, and the results were supposed to stay confidential, but an ESPN report outed Braun's test on December 10 and the story has been lingering since then.

Braun, 28, won the NL MVP in 2011 when he hit .332/.397/.597 with 33 homers, 111 RBI and 109 runs for the NL Central-winning Brewers. He will join his teammates in Brewers camp Friday, as scheduled.

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Comments

Since: Feb 24, 2012
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:20 am
 

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

In my mind he was let go on a technicality, not declared innocent. WHile it allows him to play it leaves his image cloudy at best, while it is too early to know if he has the durability to gett HOF consideration, this will effect it



Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:15 am
 

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

I agree but for the end part. I hope he does end up here again!



Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:15 am
 

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

His lawyers didn't argue tampering

Unless he himself was following the technicians around and saw tampering, it would be incredibly difficult to prove tampering. 
It is much easier to prove that they did not correctly follow procedure in sending it in.  There are reciepts and stuff.  That is in the by-laws for a reason.  They failed to properly execute the test.  Plain and simple.  You can't, and shouldn't, convict the guy for failing a test when the test was flawed.  May be he got away with one, but the lab failed on this one, and they are ultimately responsible fo that mistake, not Braun.  MLB defined, in writing, what was required to prove that you were taking a banned substance.  They did not follow their own rules.  Plain and simple. 
In order for the process to have any credibility you have to follow procedure.  They didn't.  it is impossible to know if that is merely because of a technicality, or if other procedures were not followed.  The test is no good.  They don't have another positive test to tie him to.  So he is clean, so far as anyone can tell. 



Since: Jun 3, 2011
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:09 am
 

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

Let's hold off on the parade to declare Ryan Braun innocent, that's not what happened here.  This appeal was won and rightly so on mishandling of the sample and not on the result.  This is the equivalent of not properly processing evidence at a crime scene or not reading a suspect rights prior to questioning, the evidence is true but inadmissable.  I hope Ryan Braun learns a valuable lesson from this whole situation and doesn't end up here again.



Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:07 am
 

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

He may not have been found guilty of this, but this does not mean he's innocent without a doubt.


Right, you can't ever know that.  Not-guilty is not the same as innocent.  But no one can definitively say whether that test was any good or not, or what the results would have been if handled properly.  No one is perfect, and if the test is comprimised you throw the test out.  That is how it should work.



Since: Dec 26, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:06 am
 

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

Frist: The window of opportunity is as little as 24 hours.  Braun did not take a second test within 24 hours of the original test.  The origianal test was taken on Saturday and didn't even get shipped UPS until Monday. The labs probably didn't even get that test until Tuesday or Wednesday.  So no, he did not take a test for evidence of steroids until he found out about the original test which was probably several weeks later.

Second: Braun's positive test was for increased testosterone of a foriegn source.  In other words, the high testosterone was not naturally occuring.  There are a whole host of foreign substances the League bans, and some of them can be flushed out within 24 hrs.

Third:  His lawyers didn't argue tampering, they didn't argue flawed collection procedures, they argued that the test wasn't delivered the way it said should be delivered in the MLB by-laws.  A technicality.  If you're innocent, you don't need a technicality. 



Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:04 am
 

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

the test was already positive before it was in the guys possession who kept it at his house.


He kept it at his house BEFORE sending it to the lab, so who exactly tested it?  If it was tampered with, intentionally or not, it very definately could have resulted in a false posiitve.  Everyone wants to definatively say he used or he didn't, and you are not going to get that.  Even a negative test does not mean he wasn't using at some other time, but that is true of everyone.  This is what w know:  there were two tests, one positive on negative.  The positive one was not handled properly which could have lead to a bad result.  It is tainted evidence.  You have to throw it out.   


How would you like it if you had to drug test for work, and if the testing company failed to do their job correctly and your test came back positive, and if evidence that they failed to do their job came out, and if you demanded a retest and passed it?  What else could Braun do to prove his innocence?  Again, this doesn't mean that 100% without a doubt he never used, you can't know that.  But what it does mean is that the only evidence to suggest that he used was tainted.  Without other evidence the man is not-guilty.  Let him get on with his life and his career.  

I am biased insomuch as I want him to miss 50 games, being a Cubs fan.  But fair is fair.       



Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:01 am
 

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

Just to clarify for you Beancake, braun did re-take the test. And it re-take was within the window of opportunity to detect evidence of steroids. And the test was negative.

Actually, smixy, it was outside of "the window".  Yes, he tested normal after he was told of the positive test, but he wasn't told until a few weeks after his initial test.  Plenty of time for whatever substance he possibly used to be out of his system.  A normal test a few weeks after a positive one is as rare as the sun rising in the east.

He may not have been found guilty of this, but this does not mean he's innocent without a doubt.




Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 7:34 am
 

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

Just to clarify for you Beancake, braun did re-take the test. And it re-take was within the window of opportunity to detect evidence of steroids. And the test was negative.



Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 7:31 am
 

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

Bottom line here, after hearing the arguements for and against, the responsible party here screwed up leaving too much doubt as to the results. And ultimately the responsible party is said MLB. The first test- "insanely high"........ was it tainted somehow. The repeat test. negative. Steroids do have a residual time period in the body and if the first test is insanely high and the second is negative, that will lead to question. Finally, the guy keeps the sample his beer refrigerator over the weekend. Did his friends mess with it? Was it near other samples? Too many questions MLB, and you ultimately screwed this up. And then to come out with an angry statement rather than respecting the process which you approved. Making you look kinda petty and immature. Unless things are clear cut and obvious, don't look to get your way just cuz you're the boss. Grow up and realize you live by the rules you've made rather than make the rules up as you go along as you see fit.


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