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 3, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 7:51 am

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

The system works?  How does confidential info constantly leak out, just by chance on star players?

Funny how management exempts themselves from testing.  None of them used any illegal substances...yeah, OK!  From some of the stupid things Selig has done, he ought to be tested, for the good of the game.  Test 'em all - Selig, Torre, managers, coaches, and see how they like it.  Yeah, go ahead and test Ozzie Guillen and see how that works out.

Since: Jan 8, 2012
Posted on: February 24, 2012 7:30 am

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

Obviously he was doing steroids..the MLB knew what they were doing when they made the announcement in the first place..They were convinced as am I that the guy roids up...I looked back as some photos of the guys physique from the past and there is no doubt that his body is juiced...The MLB would have never suspended him in the first place if there was any doubt.
I am surprised that the arbitrator ruled in favor of overturning the test...yes, something smells fishy here...
Just mayne Manny can appeal his case as Braun and get his 50 game suspension dropped...just needs to get the same arbitrator.
It will be interesting going forward in the future how he plays without roids..ala Mack McGuire/Aroid.

Since: Jan 28, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 7:19 am

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

It seems kind of odd to me that of all the players in MLB this only happened to 1 guy that just happened to be the MVP of the National League.  Just saying.

Since: Jan 15, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 7:10 am

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

1. This case never should have become public knowledge. Some weasel leaked the postive test result to the media. And when the arbitrator ruled in favor of Braun, nobody ever would have known a thing about it. ... until some other weasel leaked it.

2. Braun appealed the ruling and won. It may have been a technicality that he won on, but he won. And because Braun's team went after the technicality doesn't necessarily mean that he used PEDs on purpose, it's just that the technicality was the easiet way to not get suspended.

3. We don't know more details. Until we do, if we ever do, it's hard to judge the guy harshly.

4. I'm just going to let it go. 

Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:44 am

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

ok....if Braun played for the Yankees or RedSox I might be tempted to believe the sytem was rigged to get him off. 

But since ESPN isnt likely to force MLB to do this for a Brewer it seems quite unlikely.

Since: May 22, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:43 am

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

There's nothing like being wrongly accused, and then after you prove you are innocent, your still viewed as guilty. Ryan Braun has proven that his test was screwed up and he will now go back to playing baseball for the Brewers. Anything else, about him being clean or anything else, as Knobler said, you just don't one really knows, but he made his appeal, the appeal was upheld, so he can play baseball. Anything else? Nope, didn't think so...let's move on.

Since: Feb 8, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:39 am

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

For those of you that say Braun got off on a technicality, I say 'really?'. The test result showed the highest testosterone level EVER RECORDED, and that doesn't give you even the slightest impression that maybe the test got screwed up? Instead, you decide the guy is guilty anyway? Maybe the test sample was actually compromised due to improper handling, and the results therefore invalidated. Clearly, the INDEPENDENT arbitrator felt that way, and yet people decide that it still indicates guilt.

MLB is annoyed? Why, because they didn't get their way? So, they are now violently opposed to even the slightest chance that there are PEDs in the game after basically encouraging their use for a long time. Wonderful. Yet, it took years for them to figure out that an owner was embezzling from his team (hello, Dodgers) and to respond to that. I'll leave the Mets out of this for now, although it is now obvious that they over-exposed themselves to some investments that turned sour (which I bet has to do with the real estate market as well as the Madoff situation).

Comparing this situation to the OJ Simpson trial is beyond sad. The only comparison you can make is that this is NOT a criminal situation, so lets please stop acting as if these two situations are even on the same planet. If you're going to decide that this guy is guilty anyway, make sure you are ready to have yourself held to the same standard, where the accusation is 'good enough'.

Play ball! 

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:30 am

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

This doesnt happen often, but I agree with you Knobler.  I mean c'mon people , get a grip!  One case out of how many?  What is an appeal process for?  Sports fans have got to be the most judgmental unforgiving lot of all, always ready to lynch, unless of course he plays for your team. 

Since: Apr 3, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:03 am

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

The sysem works, eh? What system are we talking about here?  The system of having confidentiality? No, that system doesn't work.  As soon as the commissioner's office found out there was a leak.  How did that happen?  Just like the character in "A League of Their Own" stated there's no crying in baseball the commissioner's office decided there's no appeals in drug tests and there's no due process. For extra measures they decided to attempt to convict Braun in the court of public opinion.  Many leaks happen when the powers that be do the wink wink thing with a trusted employee who tells a media type about something those with power want to publicize.  The most disguisting thing I have seen is MLB "vehimently opposing" the ruling.  The only system that works is the system of appeal that was set up to protect those that are not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  Those who dredge up the OJ Simpson analogy are idiots.  Ryan Braun was not accused of murder.  Braun knew that many who hate their own lives and live just to bring others to their lowly level would convict him without caring if he was guilty or not guilty. MLB took care of that with their "leak".  To those folks put your narrow minds back in your narrow heads and keep living your narrow lives.  That's all I have to say about that.

Since: Apr 19, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 5:52 am

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

Compare Braun to OJ?  That seems a little excessive.  The article is bang on dead accurate.  The media wants to jump quickly, report and be the first to get news out, and there are those who are willing to leak information to get thier name in light.  What this article is saying is you are innocent until proven guilty, and the information should be confidential until it's proven that a failed test is accurate before publishing it.  Everyone wants to hear the dirt, the scandal, and are cynical if they don't get to see the public lynching.  Compare Braun to OJ?   Puleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease get a grip....

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