Blog Entry

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:31 pm
So you still don't believe Ryan Braun?

Sorry, I can't help you.

So you're now claiming that the process is rigged, or that baseball didn't really want Braun suspended?

Sorry, can't help you.

Go ahead and tell me that it's "corrupt," as one Twitter follower wrote after Thursday's decision was announced in Braun's favor. Go ahead and call him a "coward," as another tweeter said.

Sorry, can't help you, because in that case you're not interested in justice.

And as for the idea that one not-guilty verdict taints other positive tests, seriously? When one criminal trial ends with not-guilty, do we empty the jails because every other conviction must be wrong, too?

If baseball or any other sport is going to have a drug-testing system, there needs to be a way for a player to appeal a positive test. If there's going to be an appeal process, it needs to be fair enough that if the player makes a legitimate case that the test was flawed, he gets off.

Ryan Braun's people made that case, and an independent arbitrator agreed with them, with his vote swinging a 2-to-1 decision on a three-man panel that also included a representative from the commissioner's office and one from the players' union.

That's an independent arbitrator, independent enough that MLB quickly issued a statement saying it "vehemently disagrees" with the decision.

Braun's people made the case that the chain of custody was a problem, that the sample wasn't sent for 48 hours after Braun took the test. They made the case with the help, no doubt, from an abnormally-spiked testosterone level in the test in question, and in a clean test that Braun took after the first result came back positive.

It's a tough case to prove, and that's why when the news of Braun's failed test first surfaced in December, the strong assumption was that his appeal had little chance of success. No one had ever successfully overturned a suspension before.

But if there never was going to be a first one to succeed, why have the appeal process at all? And if you're not going to have an appeal process, well, you explain to me how that's fair.

What's unfair right now is that news of the Braun positive test got out in the first place, and that it unfairly taints his reputation. You see now why the players insisted on confidentiality, with a suspension only announced after the appeal process was complete.

In all cases before this one, the news never did get out before the appeal.

So how should we look at Ryan Braun now?

With sympathy, I'd say. A flawed test is useless as proof of anything, so unless he fails a test where there is no question about the method or the chain of custody, he's as innocent as any other player in the game today.

Does this mean that MLB is clean? No. Does it mean that MLB won't take on its biggest stars? Definitely not.

Does it mean that Ryan Braun is absolutely clean? There's absolutely no way to know that, just as there's no way to know it with certainty about any player.

But with this verdict, he gets as much the benefit of the doubt as anyone else.

So what does this mean, then?

It means that the system works.

If you can't accept an independent arbitrator ruling in Braun's favor, then what exactly would you accept?

If the answer is nothing, then I go back to the start.

Sorry, can't help you.

Category: MLB

Since: Mar 5, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:16 am

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

alsmooth. You have to consider something. While it is entertainment for you, it is business for many others and it affects careers for many others (players, front office personnel, etc.) and essentially the lives of people involved in the game. These cheaters get people fired; they take money away directly or indirectly from other players and other personnel; they take away scholarships from kids who are clean; they adversely affect the game in so many ways. While you are standing on the soapbox talking about you don't care and others shouldn't, tell that to a kid that missed out on a scholarship which wsa his only way to go to college; tell that to a father who now works a regular 9 to 5 when he deserved to have more; tell that to an unemployed front office guy or scout, etc. who lost his job one way or other because of these cheaters. There are many others, but I won't write a book here. Great, you enjoy the entertainment, but there is the other side to this that involves other real human beings where this is not just a form of entertainment, but a part of their lives.

Since: Jan 15, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:15 am

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

Both samples were taken at the same time.  The second test is a back-up on the first sample from the same cup.  Thus, it was involved in the chain of custody violation.

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:13 am

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

Chain of suctody is hardly a technicality ... just sayin'

Since: Jan 20, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:12 am

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

What about the second test?  The one taken after that came back negative?  I'm no expert, but I find it hard to believe that there was not something that happend in the process of one of the two, or both.  

MLB needs to tighten up the process and be sure the FedEx facility in the area will be open when a sample needs to be sent. 


Since: Dec 14, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:11 am

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

OK, Mr. Knobler... Braun isn't serving a suspension, but he still flunked the drug test.. The order handler screwed up and like most Unions they muddy the water and get an arbitrator to agree with him.. Like David Ortiz did before he went from Being cut by the Twinkies. It seemed Over night he became a 50 home run hitter.  Legal?  By the way who did he bat next to in the lineup all those years... Manny somebody?  Yes, he doesn't serve the suspension for an order handling mistake... But he still flunked the drug test.  Is an abnormally-spiked testosterone level clean? No, it's a failed drug test...  A technicality and an order handlers mistake got him off the hook...  I ask you Mr. Knobler are you a guy who thought OJ was innocent because of the not guilty verdict?  Have you written 1 article about Barry Bonds and his Steroid issues since he never tested Positive? So, do you put your head in the sand and forget Braun failed based on a technicality?  Also, if you ever wrote about Barry Bonds or Clemens you are a total hypocrite..

Since: Sep 25, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:07 am

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

The most important thing to remember here is Braun did not appeal the actual test or the integrity of the test. He appealed the handling of the sample. He basically admitted the result of the test, but said the handling of the sample violated MLB policy (which I would disagree with since it was in a cool and secured environment). Since NONE of the seals of the sample were tampered with, and synthetic testosterone would not just appear over time, he is clearly guilty of using synthetic testosterone but got out of his suspension due to a technicality. This is a slap in the face to all MLB players who are clean. His suspension me be voided but his guilt will remain with him.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:06 am

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

Amen...seriously IbelieveRyan, the amount of hate for a baseball player!  it has to be jealousy.  There is no other explanation.  I am not a Brewers fan, can care less about the team or Braun, himself.  But I'll channel my hate for things worth hating!  It's baseball...meant for our entertainment.  Who CARES if a ball player gets away with cheating???  I was completely and utterly entertained by the Sosa-McGwire home run chase which was brought to us by steroids!  and seriously, the whole league was juiced!  So the playing field was completely level!  I'm a Yanks fan, even if I found out Derek Jeter did roids, I would be bummed, but I would get over it quickly.  Why?  Because it's just a game!!!

Since: Mar 5, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:51 am

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

For those that feel this is right because other companies do drug testing and they shouldn't screw up in the chain of custody, here is a thought.

People who don't use drugs don't have to worry about the technicalities. When they don't use, they can simply prove it. They don't need to go through technicalities to get off.

Since: Mar 5, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:49 am

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

For those okay with this because of the technicality, it still doesn't prove that Braun didn't use steroids. It proves that the system is flawed enough for a guy who failed the test to get away from it the same way criminals get defense attorneys to use loopholes in the law to get their clients off. Being "not guilty" is not equal to "innocent".

Since: Jan 8, 2012
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:49 am

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

Nice Blog, thanks.

I’m a big Braun and Brewers fan. That is the only reason I cared about this story. I won’t be reading any more of these posts, I wasted too much of the last two and a half months engaging in this unhealthy practice.

I will never understand how so many people put so much energy into hate. Sad.

Way to go Ryan, I’ll be there opening day. MVP, MVP, MVP

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