Blog Entry

Brewers player rep: Testing problems in Milwaukee

Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:01 pm
PHOENIX, Ariz. -- As Ryan Braun reported to camp on Friday, Brewers player representative Chris Narveson said there have been issues with drug testing before in Milwaukee.

Specifically, with one of his own tests shortly after last summer's All-Star Game.

"Mine was more of a failure to communicate that I was getting tested," Narveson said Friday morning. "You're walking out the door in your street clothes an hour-and-a-half after the game and they come up to you and say, 'We forgot to tell you, you're getting tested.

"Errors like that can't happen."

Narveson added: "It's interesting, that's two instances for us with the same group of guys testing. .... One time can be an aberration."

The pitchers said that after he was collared late for testing when leaving the ballpark after already dressing, that they tightened things up "and tried to make sure they notified us" more promptly after a game.

Still, Narveson said the players firmly support drug testing. They just want things done right.

"I don't think there are flaws in the system," Narveson said. "If they follow protocol the whole way, I don't think we have an issue."

But he pointed out that the testers did not follow protocol with him. And, of course, a large part of Braun's dispute was that his specimen sat at the tester's home for more than 48 hours before being shipped where it was supposed to go.

"Ryan's sample sat for 48 hours," Narveson said. "Anybody can do anything [to] it."

Narveson and several Brewers also sharply criticized the system for allowing a leak in the first place. News of Braun testing positive for synthetic testosterone leaked to ESPN in December.

"Now that we look back, if this didn't get out, nobody hears about it," Narveson said. "Braun comes in today and there's four or five reporters saying, 'How was your off-season?'"

Since: Jul 28, 2011
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:33 pm

Brewers player rep: Testing problems in Milwaukee

Just heard the news conference. Braun said that two other players were tested the same day. He did NOT say weather the handler had the other two samples in his possession. If he did, why did the other two samples appear normal. It was never addressed and it bothers me

Since: Jan 23, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:32 pm

Brewers player rep: Testing problems in Milwaukee

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times wrote it best in his article today: http://seattletimes.nws


The fact is that in Braun's case, protocol - not only MLB's but basic science protocol - was not followed and thus disqualifies the test.

For one thing, biological samples can't be kept in random refrigerators. The units that are used to store samples are specially designed to house those samples. Things such as temperature and humidity are tightly controlled in order to not adversely affect the quality of tested biologics.

For another, there's a matter of evidence integrity and security. As Baker deftly points out, there is no guarantee that the sample was not handled by someone other than the testing rep. Sure, it's unlikely, but it's not impossible. Remember that the person taking the sample and in charge of sending it to the lab is not new at doing this job, and he alleges that he didn't go to FedEx because he thought that the office might already be closed. Why didn't he call FedEx to check if the office was actually closed? Look: The cycling world has dealt with this for years, and no one ever sat on a lab sample because the FedEx office might be closed.

Before people argue that Braun didn't contest evidence tampering or argue versus the scientific methodology used, that doesn't matter. From the moment the rep failed to follow procedure, the rest of the process fails utterly. Why? Because you can't guarantee that you're even working with the right sample, let alone that it wasn't tainted.

Finally, it doesn't take long to do the tests and get the results. (This is not DNA or postmortem testing.) When he heard about the results, Braun immediately requested a second test, and the results fell within the approved limits, although they showed some anomalies. If he was taking anabolics or similar drugs, they don't wash out of your system that quickly. Something would have shown up. I'm also wondering why only one sample was tested. Usually the labs take two samples to compare against each other. The whole event between the tester and the lab stinks.

Bottom line: The MLB's tester completely screwed the pooch here. MLB should be mad. At him. 

Since: Mar 19, 2011
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:30 pm

Brewers player rep: Testing problems in Milwaukee

Sure Bruan is probably guilty, but the testing protical was worked out between MLB and the Union.  The players have to follow the rules and so should MLB.  They didn't so Bruan gets off. Next time  follow the rules.

Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:28 pm

Brewers player rep: Testing problems in Milwaukee

if MLB knew he tested positive ( maybe) and on Oct 19th notified him about what they found why didn't they test him again right away.....

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:21 pm

Brewers player rep: Testing problems in Milwaukee

sure he did it. whoever it was that acquitted him did not want baseball to admit that they had picked a cheater. i think baseball needs to police this more. it isnot fair to babe ruth and other old-timeers to have their record assulted by cheaters.

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:19 pm

Brewers player rep: Testing problems in Milwaukee

Let's see... Braun plays for the Milwaukee Brewers..... Bud Selig the commissioner owned the Brewers.... now there is a "problem" with chain of evidence related to the sample.  Conspiracy.... I think so.  How can a steel mill in Ohio, PA or any other region have better protocols for drug than the MLB?  Go visit AK Steel or any other mill and they will drug test you.  It's done every day and done properly.  I smell cover up!

Since: Nov 14, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:18 pm

Brewers player rep: Testing problems in Milwaukee

So basically, he took PED and lawyered his way out of it because the nascent testing setup isn't used to dealing with Johnny Cochran nonsense.

To say that Ryan Braun didn't take PEDs is to say that his tester deliberately tainted his sample before sending it, or that someone broke into his house and did it. That would be borderline absurd even in a court of law; you might be able to get a jury to buy that or you might not, depending on the circumstances. But this is not a court of law, it's a prviate company's drug testing regime.

Since: Jul 8, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:16 pm

Brewers player rep: Testing problems in Milwaukee

This article says the sample sat in a tester's fridge for 48 hours.  Other stories I've read said it was in a courier's fridge for 24 hours.  Anyone else see what some of the problems are?  MLB needs to tighten its reins and have an outside firm that is responsble for the notification, collection, testing, and result stages of each taste.  As for Braun, either everyone knew he was taking something and so the test was purposely left in a fridge for the purpose of an appeal OR he's the luckiest guy on earth (next to the photographers for the swimsuit issue).  Regardless he's in camp and opponents for those first 50 games now have a tougher task at hand b/c he'll be pissed and want to show on the field that he clean and drug free.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:14 pm

Brewers player rep: Testing problems in Milwaukee

wow...random post deletions? Can anyone explain why a post that had no offensive ideas or language just gets hammered?

Seems to me that this is the great conspriacy theory...  

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:11 pm

Brewers player rep: Testing problems in Milwaukee

You are presupposing that all tests are done correctly and that no mistakes are possible.  That assumption is flawed from the onset.

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