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,'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'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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Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:49 am

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

There is no "spike" because he has probably been using from day one.

Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:48 am

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

I heard something a while back about it possibly being a herpes medication he was taking that increased his testosterone. Anyone heard if that was the deal?

Since: Aug 23, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:46 am

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

Seems like there are a lot of bitter little Cubs fans on this site.

Since: Mar 3, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:28 am

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

another doper beats the system, he cheated like all the others, cheater cheater cheater

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:19 am

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

lil, I guess I find it more believable that a MLB player tested positive for PEDs despite the other 25 clean tests than I can believe some guy decided to "spike" the urine sample. There are plenty of examples of guys who have tested positive despite having a history of clean tests. There have also been plenty of guys in various sports who have come out and said they used when they played and tests were easy to work around or fudge. Sometimes it just comes down to timing. It is well known that certain PEDs get cleaned out of one's system in a relatively short amount of time and you don't need to be a doctor or a medical professional to know that; all it takes is the ability to read what has been written by them about PEDs. If you're going to assume the sample was spiked, then the next question to be answered is: What is the motive and what is there to be gained by the guy who supposedly spiked it? Loss of employment, a lot of legal troubles and time in prison, potentially, but not much else as far as I can see, unless there were other people involved and there was some kind of organized conspiracy against Braun or the Brewers and whoever spiked it was part of that conspiracy. Some conspiracy theories have merit, but I can't believe that one.

So, in my thinking, that brings me to the fact that, more often than not, the simplest scenario is the truth. There are far more confirmed examples of athletes cheating drug tests than there are examples of intentionally sabotaged tests. I'm not saying it's not possible, but historically speaking, the scenario I laid out has a far greater probability of being the truth than the one you suggest.

But again, I agree with you overall in that Braun should not be suspended based on this test because the sample was mishandled. Nor can you suspend a guy based on probabilities. People should be upset about this, but they should direct their ire at MLB for not following its own rules.

Since: Aug 10, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:14 am

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

Seems that he got off on a technicality.

Tell you what; test him in April and then again in July. If he's clean then and his numbers are similiar, I would think that his failed test was legitimately an error.

Since: Jan 30, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:09 am

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

From what I know Barry Bonds never failed a drug test, yet it's almost a known fact that he cheated. So, the argument that Braun passed a re-test, and all previous test's prior to that is mute. The fact that his levels were so high works against him in my book. These players know how to pass these tests, just like I knew how to pass those tests while in my early 20's. I bet you Manny Ramirez passed test after test as well. Just my opinion. But, if he was innocent, then good for him.

Since: Feb 23, 2012
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:07 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:05 am

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

In America, you are innocent until proven guilty. Because of the breach of contract (same day delivery of specimen), it leaves reasonable doubt as to the 100% certainity of his guilt.  Case closed.  Everything else is only speculation.
This mentality is grounds for censoring CSI and all its knockoffs. We're growing a nation of Casey Anthony jurors with this nonsense.

First of all, this is not "America." This is MLB's steroid policy, not a US court.
Second, even if it was a court, there is still more than enough evidence to convict. There's holes in every single case that preclude "100% certainty of guilt," but we still convict - yes, even though that means that, very rarely, innocents go to jail - because the alternative is anarchy, where there is no justice to be found anywhere except through retribution.

No one has a claim to "retribution" against Ryan Braun, but the sport of baseball just got a little bit tainted, a little more corrupt, and a little less credible in the eyes of fans. It won't kill the sport (just like one murderer walking won't turn the nation into Mad Max), but it is a wound, and wounds accumulate.

Since: Aug 13, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:58 am

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended

I wil admit that there were a few Yankees that used ped,Clemens,Giambi.I think like Braun that Petitte's test was a mistake.Pettitte was not the type of guy to do that.But I could be wrong.

You are wrong because Pettitte admitted that he took them.

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