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: Apr 14, 2011
Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:00 am

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

Most of us know that baseball players are honest men who possess character of the highest order.  I believe baseball players are speaking warmly from their open hearts when they discuss how other players don't use performance-enhancing substances.

These magnificent athletes play solely for the love of the game.  These men are just happy to play a child's game for a living.  Their effort is not a job, it's a labor of love.  Likewise, ownership pays incomprehensible sums of money to these pillars of society because of the implicit trust between fans, owners and players.

What we see here with the unfortunate Braun incident is that MLB's drug testing is flawed and has always been flawed.  People like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and the late Ken Caminiti were victims of conspiracies, conspiracies meant to discredit their superhuman accomplishments in order to reduce the salaries of future talent.

If these guys want to take vitamins, flax seed oil or cocaine to improve their games, let'em have at it.  MLB should continue to preach the evils of PEDs so that youngsters won't use them, but MLB should also do anything to improve the product on the field. 

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: February 25, 2012 3:03 pm

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

Wow look at all these haters.

 (1)Matt Kemp blah blah, Drew Brees had MVP numbers and lost to Arron Rodgers because Rodgers played on a team with a better record. I do not here Saints fans crying or Pats fans for that matter looking at Brady's numbers. (Patriot fans will cry about anything)

 (2) Baseball wanted Braun to be cleared.  Yeah, the statement they released sure sounded like MLB is overjoyed by this.
 We were not supposed to even know he failed the test until today so I guess it gave everybody a way to talk all winter over nothing. I am glad to see this go through for Ryan not only cause I'm a Brewers fan but because it goes to show MLB that there are problems with their testing program and maybe they will go out and fix them.

I know there are many other cynical responses to Braun's guilt and whatever the case maybe he was found innocent, even though 80% percent of the comments from day one said he was guilty

 I am glad to live in America where you're guilty until proven innocent and even then you're still guilty once you're found innocent.

Can we all just get passed this now and actually enjoy the season?

Since: Oct 8, 2011
Posted on: February 25, 2012 7:03 am

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

We are talking synthetic testosterone, not naturally occurring testosterone - means it was produced in a lab.

Since: Oct 8, 2011
Posted on: February 25, 2012 6:52 am

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

You complain correctly that the tests were made public, yet it was people of your profession who once again jumped on the story and released it, knowing full well the impact it would have! Then when fans are rightly upset either direction, you say, "Sorry, can't help you.", like reporters are innocent while the fans are the ones who must be blamed for jumping to conclusions! The Media - Talk about hypocrites!!!

I am amazed as I watched ESPN, seeing reporters, ex-players, and current players plus people like Aaron Rodgers proclaim that Braun has either been declared innocent or has proven his innocence when neither has occured. Braun got off on a technicality only. Anyone watching ESPN's Outside the Lines yesterday would have seen the doctor in charge of the World Anti-Doping Commission. He was much more convincing than Braun's impersonation of Raphael Palmerio: remember him emphatically pointing a Congress saying he NEVER used steroids only to later be shown the liar he was!?! Anyway, the doctor said that a sample sitting around for a couple of days would not have any effect whatsoever. He said samples for Olympians routinely sit for several days in FedEx packages waiting to be shipped. The doctor went on to say that while Braun & the press pushing this story makes great drama, it has little basis in science. He said the concern was the high level of testosterone and the fact that it was synthetic (produced in a lab). Braun's public relations ploy, that has so many gushing proclaiming his innocence, never ever addresses these important facts.

The only people that had access to this sample over that weekend was the collector that both MLB & the union trusted, plus his son. Braun indirectly accuses one of these 2 of tampering. I doubt very much the son would have the smarts to know just how much testosterone to add to make the sample look convincing. The reputation of the collector is respected by both sides so he is left out. That brings us right back to Braun! Despite his well-rehearsed Palmerio moment of "it wasn't me" plea, this sample has synthetic testosterone in it. His story is just as bogus as A Rod's "my cousin injected me with something" and he should be treated with the equal amount of scorn! 

Since: Mar 27, 2011
Posted on: February 25, 2012 6:06 am

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

First off let me say I am not excited or hot and bothered if players are juicing with testosterone. It's against the rules and the testing probably keeps testosterone juicing to a minimum. What that minimum is, is anybody's guess.

As someone with a lot of experience  with random drug testing via urine tests, here's my take: Braun had an excess of testosterone in his system when first tested. He knew it, and stopped taking it, or cut it down, so that the second test was within the normal range. Now, despite my speculation I acknowledge that it's possible Braun really was incorrectly reported as dirty with regards to his testosterone result and that he didn't and doesn't
juice using testosterone. Do I believe it? No. Will I hold it against him? No.

Just as players must follow rules set forth, so, too, does MLB, and in this case they didn't. Their agent who administered the test didn't follow the rules and, thus, violated the chain of custody. Braun appealed and got the correct result. Case closed.  

I believe the system works. I would think the recoed speaks for itself when deciding whether MLB plays favorites; this is the first appeal won in twelve years. Case closed.

I say we move forward and give Braun a pass, or even the benefit of the doubt. Let's put it behind us and forget it. If he's screwing around, folks,  he'll get bagged, so don't fret that he's 'getting away' with murder. Trust the process, and trust - and enjoy - the game.    

Since: Apr 4, 2008
Posted on: February 25, 2012 1:45 am

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

You choose to think that it is somehow justice for a person to get off on a technicality - then you tell me "sorry, can't help you?" It seems to me that there is no help for you if you think getting off on a loophole is proof that the system works.

As it did with OJ, the system has allowed a guilty person to skate through clever lawyering - nothing to take pride in there, I think.

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:10 pm

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

Bottom line:

His test was not tampered with...only storage procedures.

Braun apparently did offer to take a DNA test...........which was nothing more that posturing. He was going to be protected by the MLB players union from taking that test. It was an empty threat.

The amount of TESTOSTERONE in his system was at record levels. That doesnt happen accidentally. It wasnt just a small amount..I wonder how you could explain that amount away???? I am not sure you can.

He got off on a technicallity...and now wants to cry about his reputation. He still failed the test. The seals were not broken.

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:02 pm

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

Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:37 amScore: 64 

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

Sorry peaface
"Braun had 3 times as high levels of steriods"

Is a lie.
You don't know the facts yet you still have an opinion.
That's not valueable.

UH-OH! I mispoke (errr....typed.)

He did have 3 times the level of testosterone ever. (not steriods).....

But for you to be so blunt, and act like you dont know that story either mean you are not informed, or disingenious.

I will let you decide if being under-informed and or disingenious more valueable.

Since: Feb 24, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 5:15 pm

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

Chain of custody gets him off and rightfully so. The other arguman means nothing. See Rafael Palmeiro for proof of that.

Since: Jul 8, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 4:52 pm

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

My two cents...

So Braun is smart enough to play for so many years without even a hint of a positive test come up, and then has a random drug test with results that are not only positive, but supposedly the highest of any drug test ever?  Oh, and there's only a small problem with the chain of custody...  Yep, that's right, he's guilty...

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