Ryan Joseph Braun (aka The Hebrew Hammer)
College: University of Miami (on an ACADEMIC scholarship)
*Ranked No. 16 by the Sporting News in its 2011 list of the 50 greatest current players in the MLB and won the 2011 NL MVP award.
*Won the NL Rookieof the Year Award in 2007.
*Starting All-Star and won the NL Outfielder Silver Slugger Award in each of the past four seasons (2008-2011).
If you have been watching ESPN (reported on Outside The Lines on December 10, 2011) for the past couple of months, I'm sure you know the story about the Milwaukee Brewers' hard-hitting All-Star and NL MVP winner Ryan Braun and how he was issued a 50-game suspension because he tested positive for a banned substance.
He took the test in October 2011 and the urine sample had a high level of testosterone caused by a performance-enhancing drug. Braun disputed the appeal and had his case heard in January 2012.
Well what do you know, on February 23rd a three-person arbitration panel (MLBPA Director Michael Weiner, MLB VP Rob Manfred and independent arbitrator Shyam Das) voted 2-1 in favor of Ryan Braun, the first time that a MLB Player had successfully challenged a drug test result.
Did he really win his case? Did he really prove that he was innocent? The decision was based on a TECHNICALITY...and what was the technicality? A courier, who was supposed to deliver the samples (Braun stated that he and two other players took the test that day) to FEDEX on Saturday, instead the stupid (or lazy) ass took the samples home, thinking the FEDEX center might be closed. He took the samples to FEDEX on Monday to have them shipped. The BREAK in the chain of custody (the samples are supposed to be delivered ASAP) raised a big question about the process taken, and Das gave the tie-breaking vote in Ryan's favor.
Now, I like Braun and really don't have nothing against him. I'm sort of glad that he's cleared himself...or did he? It is easy to say that he is innocent, but then he could indeed have tested positive for a banned substance and got lucky that the courier had something else to do or just got lazy on a Saturday night. Let not forget that there is a DIRTY URINE SAMPLE and that there was reportedly THREE PLAYERS taking the test. So if it wasn't Braun's, then it had to be one of the other two players who took the test. All in all, there was someone who was cheating and that is what everybody seem to be forgetting and that is what makes me shake my head and think that the game will never be PED-free....and that is the shame of it all. <!-- / message --><!-- sig -->