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: Jun 8, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:41 am

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

he won the appeal,  first in history.  Braun is golden in my eyes.  Get over it people.

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:41 am

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

braun is about to have a horrendous year....

that guy was on something all year.  never saw such a sweating baseball pig in 40 degree weather...

his stats this year will tell the tale!

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:32 am

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

MLB actually did a great job .Its the arbitrator who should be ashamed of himself . Not only were there highest Levels testosterone ever seen on any test for  a MLB player there was also a synthetic testosterone in the sample  .Braun  guy got away with Cheating!

Since: May 22, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:32 am

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

Oh C'mon people!!! Look at Ryan!  He's not bursting w/ hulk-like muscles, nor is his hat size increasing.  The guy is somewhat of a goofball - if you watch when they flash to dugout stuff ... and don't forget his "trip" when attempting an inside-the-park HR.  I don't think Ryan is the kind of guy who would push his limits or disavow the rules of the game ... whether it be about drug testing or otherwise. Can't you folks EVER think there is someone GOOD in the world of professional sports??  Sports in Wisconsin are SACRED to the players and to the fans ... we like the REAL competition, not unfair advantages like steroids!! AND I DON'T CARE IF YOU FOLKS THINK I'M A SAP OR WHAT!!!

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:22 am

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

This smells fishy to me.  Chain of custody for samples like this is as simple as Ryan Braun signs a sticker that gets wrapped over the top of the sample container in his presence.  You cannot tamper with it without breaking that seal.  A respected lab will notify the parties if the seal has been broken and the possiblity of tampering has occurred, and then void the sample.  They are not going to risk their reputation otherwise.  So even if that sample got diverted in it's delivery for a few hours, it does not explain how the sample had the elevated testosterone in it.  Back to the chain of custody, did they show that it was in the wrong hands at any time? Or was it just a matter of how long it took to get there?  Does the chemistry of the urine change over time?  If the answer is no on the first and third question, and yes on the middle question, then the decision is wrong.  What is the likelihood of a false positive?  This just smells fishy to me.  Like MLB didn't want the black eye of the MVP (who should not have won anyway) being caught cheating, so they got to the arbitrator, told him "you cast the deciding vote, you vote with Braun, then we can jump up and down and say we don't agree, but then the public loves Braun again, and thus, us".  Thats what I smell....that and Knobler's sh!tty writing.

Since: Oct 11, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:21 am

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

I'm not comparing murder to PEDs, mind you, just the whole "innocent" vs non-guilty thing.

Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:21 am

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

Makes me wonder if Bud Selig rigged this thing to save his freakin Brew Crew and the "outrage of MLB" about the arbiter decision is all just a big act to cover his can. I like Braun and would prefer to see him playing, but it's a bad coinsidence that it was a Brewer that was the first to beat a Roid rap, especially on a technicality. This think reaks of Bud. 

Since: Oct 11, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:20 am

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

He's as innocent as OJ.  Take that any way you want.

Since: Feb 13, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:18 am

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

Oh the steroids... Always a hot topic.
It's tough to believe in justice when we talk about drug testing in sports. Let's go back to 1988 and look how Johnson and Lewis were exposed... 24 years later, we only know the truth on the Johnson's case. Nobody ever talks about Lewis and his failed test 2 months before Seoul...

Since: Oct 7, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:07 am

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

It's rather simplistic the courts, one can be guilty of a crime but get off on a technicality. Does that mean that they are innocent? No, they were declared innocent because of a systems violation.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or