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: Dec 16, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2012 9:38 pm

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

I wish my fantasy draft was yesterday.

Since: Dec 24, 2011
Posted on: February 23, 2012 9:35 pm

Don't believe Braun now? No, nor Bonds

Barry Braun seems to have gotten away with this one.  At this point, let players take whatever they want. Hate Bonds but he was the most incredible player i ever had saw play. Since monitoring doesn't work, let the roids roll.

Since: Oct 11, 2011
Posted on: February 23, 2012 9:29 pm

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

Other articles have stated that there were other chemical differences in the high testosterone sample and other samples provided, the ph factor being at least one.  Shyman Das is not someone just hired by MLB and the Players Association, he has been the arbitrator since 2000, he has been involved in many important decisions in baseball over the past decade plus, not just drug violation cases.  A lot of people are focusing on one board member voting Braun to not overturn the urine result, what about the other board member who voted to overturn the result?  Does his decision not mean anything?  Those who think that that Das voted to overturn because the man involved is Ryan Braun are brutally naive.  Shyman Das is an important man with a huge legal professional background before being hired by baseball to be their INDEPENDENT arbitrator, he is not impressed with "Ryan Braun being Ryan Braun'.  He is a not a man who lacks guts.  He looked at the facts the same way the other two men looked at the facts.  Two voted there was an issue, one voted there was not an issue.  Thus the decision is overturned, period.  I respect all three of the board members decisions, they take their jobs seriously and were the only objective parties in this process.  Their decision to overturn the result for whatever reason was done on a sum of the facts...all of them we do not know. Braun will claim innocence and that is not what was proven.  Guilt was not proven because of the way the sample was handled.  That is MLB's problem and they have to deal with it.  Come on, even the person who hates this decision the most has to agree that a urine sample should never sit in a RESIDENTIAL REFRIGERATOR at all, nonetheless two days.  That alone presents some doubt.  Everyone must agree there must be a better way to handle a sample that cannot be shipped right away.  This is a professional sports league, there has to be a way to code the boxes and arrange for them to be stored at a medical facility like Concentra or similar until they can be FedEx'd to the Doping Agency.  Flaws abound here and they were exposed.  The good that will come out of this is samples from this point forward will have to handled more carefully, as they should be.  This is important testing to all players careers, not just Ryan Braun.

Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2012 9:17 pm

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

He didn't have advanced notice of another test.  As soon as he was told about it, he asked for another test.

Interesting though, that the test result was leaked to the press.  Hmmm.  I wonder who would want to do that?  Maybe they thought they weren't going to get him, so they'd sully his reputation anway.

Real classy.

Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2012 9:13 pm

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

Couldn't agree with you more, Knobler. 

Guys, you need to ask yourself, how would you like it if you were on the job, and your employer got your urine sample and was so sloppy and careless with it that they didn't deliver it until two days later?

You also need to ask yourself how could the testosterone levels be off the charts one day, and then completely normal in a test after that? 

How also could he have been clean in three other tests that same season? 

How also could he have been clean 25 other times in his career???!!!

Why is it Braun has never had any spike in his statistics (just a gradual progression) his entire career?  (He's been great every year.)

Yet, we're supposed to believe a completely bizarre test result is authentic knowing all these facts?

I'm sorry, but these facts don't add up.

Braun deserves the benefit of the doubt in this case.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2012 8:36 pm

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

Ryan Braun was set up.

Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

O.J. Simpson wasn't gulity.

The Holocaust was a lie.

We never landed a man on the moon.

Barrack Obama was born in Hawaii, and didn't recieve a foreign born student scholarship from Occidental College. 

Barry Bonds didn't know he took PED's.  

Bud Selig didn't know PED's were a problem, until Congress pointed it out to him. 


Rumors, inuendo, propaganda,smoke and mirrors, and blatant lies....Well, I don't believe any of it, and I already know that a sportswriter can't help me. The problem is, the people that are SUPPOSED to help us all, by telling the truth, or finding the truth, often have another agenda that day.     



Since: Jan 28, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2012 8:21 pm

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

It means that the system works, and if he goes on to have a great career, lets see what the HOF voters think.

Since: Feb 24, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2012 7:54 pm

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

Mez I think you are wrong. I think they would look at it exactly the same. They would be glad they could get off on a technicality of course, but they would still have committed the crime, and the proof would still be the proof to anyone with common sense, they simply would gt away with it as it appears Braun has.

That said the rules are there for a reason, and the reason is, like any other court rule that it is better that ten guilty men go free, than one innocent one go to jail (or in that case I think it was executed). In other words the rules are there to make sure innocent people do not get convicted because of incompetence. And in doing that a few guilty ones will go free. I have seen several times cases where a company could not prove a chain of constant custody and everyone went free. Samples could have been mixed or names changed on vials while nobody actually had physical control. it could be just a bad minimum wage lab asst.

I think he is guilty as sin, but the people doing the testing have to be better if they want their findings to stand up in court. If they were really any good they would not leak the first positive test and they would go back to him during another random time and get the next sample instead of giving him time to properly mask his next test. If he passes then great but if he doesn't, what are the chances that two different samples at two different times got tainted. Even the pro player arbitor would have trouble with that one.

Since: Apr 5, 2011
Posted on: February 23, 2012 7:49 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Feb 24, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2012 7:39 pm

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

MTR the simple answer is that it doesn't. However the amount of time that is not accounted for brings a lot reasonable doubt in to the minds of some people. For me he is guilty, but will not serve the penalty on a technicality. Still the people who run this program must understand that they are dealing with people with means, and they had better be doing everything right or their decisions will be overturned.

Anybody remember the OJ case? It was the same thing. Everyone knew he had money and would hire lawyers that were better than what the state could afford, yet they still were sloppy in everything that they sid, so on technicalities, one by one each piece of evidence was brought into reasonable doubt. He went free. Not innocent, but not guilty either.

Nobody is ever allowed to take a second sample later on. The whole system is based on getting tested when you don't have time to plan for the test. What should happen is that two samples should be taken at the same time. They test one. If you want to have the second one tested to prove the lab screwed up, that is the one they test, not one you took months later on your time. That is just rediculous.

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