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: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:44 am

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

Blue Devil, OJ Simpson's case was a MURDER charge, not a baseball drug test!!  Can we please prioritize?  It's not the same...not even close to the same thing.  This is like when politicians invoke "Hitler" when a policy from their opposition is presented "This is something Hitler did! rabble rabble rabble!"  It's not the same.  One got away with murder, the other plays a sport in the proverbial "toy department of life".  Denying sympathy toward OJ is not the same as denying sympathy to Braun.  One's a murderer, the other cheated in baseball!!!  Are you really this angry over a baseball player?  Seriously?  A baseball player?? Who crapped in your wheaties?

Since: Apr 21, 2011
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:44 am

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

Cheater.  Be a man and give the MVP to the runner-up.  You will at least get respect from a selfless act.

Since: Mar 16, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:44 am

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

If you believe OJ is innocent, I can't help you.
Knobler, Do you think Barry Bonds is innocent?  He never tested positive once.  That means not a single time.  If you don't understand that,  I can't help you.
Ryan Braun tested positive for extremely elevated levels of testosterone.  "Positive" is not a good thing.  If you don't understand that, I can't help you.
He was "cleared" due to a technicallity.  That's like getting off of a traffic ticket due to a box not being checked.   If you don't understand that, I can't help you.
Braun is no way innocent. His test proved that.  If you don't undestand that, you're an idiot and need help that only a doctor can provide.


Since: Oct 25, 2011
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:42 am

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

Sorry, can't help you.
damn right you can't help me... he's guilty as hell.

Since: Jan 11, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:39 am

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

It sounds like Braun did take steroids but got off on a technicality.  He beat an imperfect system.  Innocent, sure, but definitely not drug free.  It's like a guy who has 100 lbs of cocaine in his trunk but gets off because the cop didn't have the right to look in the trunk.  According to the system that guy's "innocent" but wouldn't it be pretty naive to conclude that he didn't actually have drugs in his trunk?

Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:38 am

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

Chain of custody = Roger Clemens innocent!

Since: Mar 14, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:36 am

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

Not sure I believe it or not. One thing for sure though, if MLB is vehemently objecting to it, Ryan Braun will be getting tested from here on out like nobody's business. Whether he was clean before or not, he sure as heck better be from here on it. This means he will either prove he was clean by continuing to put up the same numbers or prove to be a cheat by either retesting positive again or having a substantial decline in numbers. Time will tell.

Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:36 am

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

MLB didn't announce his suspension you idiot. It was illegally leaked by a source from within the MLB front office. Suspensions aren't supposed to be made public unless the appeal of the player is denied. No one should ever even know about this. I hope Braun sues for defamation. The MLB front office is an effing joke. What's the point of having a privacy clause if some idiot looking to make a quick buck leaks the story?

Since: Jul 21, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:35 am

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

I am glad the test was invalidated due to chain of custody.  If drug testing is important in baseball you cannot have part time people taking the sample to their house.  My work requires drug testing.  Many people's employer drug test.  A positive test is a very serious matter.  I saw several military convictions overturned because drug samples were stored in a locker over the weekend. 

It is critical that processes are followed to the letter because the effect of not doing so is dramatic.

You cannot dispute the results of the test.  But if chain of custody is not stricly followed it is perfectly allowable to dispute how it got there.  I will believe he is innocent unless he tests positive on a properly followed test in the future.  That is the only way I would ever attempt to judge him in this instance. 

Pretend for a minute that you are Braun and you are innocent. Better yet pretend it is you who tested positive and lost your job only to find out that the lab person took the sample home.  A person with access to the labels and seals can tamper with a sample.  I am not saying that this person did or had reason to do so.  However, this is not just about Braun but all players subject to testing.  The process has to be ironclad or any results including those that are not positive are questionable.

Since: Jan 1, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:33 am

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

What happened to innocent until proven guilty. MLB had some evidence that could show him guilty. He won the case and proved he wasn't. SO whats wrong with that? Wouldn't you want the same rights if you failed a drug test at work and facing suspension or if some female employee said you touched her ass when you didn't.

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