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: Mar 2, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2012 7:34 pm

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

What I don't understand is why people are upset with Ryan Braun.  Anyone who disagrees with this outcome should be mad at MLB and no one else.  They let the story leak... they mishandled the test... and they are soley responsible for this outcome.  On top of that, they showed a complete lack of class with their statement after the ruling was announced.  Did Braun cheat?  Maybe... only he knows the truth.  Anything anyone else says is only speculating and that is really the only fact I can see.

Since: Sep 3, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2012 7:30 pm

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

So I suppose if you got fired for failing a drug test that was kept in some random dude's fridge for 48 hours, you wouldn't try to fight it.  

A breach of chain of custody like this wouldn't hold up for someone with a job paying $8 an hour.  There's reasons for rules like this.  

Since: Feb 23, 2012
Posted on: February 23, 2012 7:28 pm

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

Sorry Mr Knobs, I can`t help you if you are ignorant of the fact that Braun cheated, and will go down as the first tainted MVP (which he didn`t deserve in the first place), and his new name is Ryan Asterisk Braun.

Since: Jun 17, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2012 7:20 pm

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

He is not "innocent." He is not guilty. Big difference.

Since: Oct 25, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2012 7:17 pm

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

I'm not a chemist, somebody help me out here (someone who knows what they are talking about, please), how does the delay in delivering the sample change the content tested?  And how does the extended time to deliver the sample necessarily compromise the chain of custody? 

Since: Dec 31, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2012 7:07 pm

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

Ah, now we will hear from the "conspiracy theorists", who of course, know nothing about the person or the process, but will have very strong opinions.
Let me sum it up for all of you. He had his day in court and he won. He is innocent of the charges brought forth agsint him and he is due to be treated as a person who has been questioned and found innocent- period.  
You can take all of your "baseball didn't want to see him suspended", "Bud Selig pulled strings" and other nonsensical comments and flush them. They have no merit. 

Since: Apr 12, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2012 7:01 pm

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

Mr Knobler, I respectfully disagree.  I do understand why you have to pen this article.  Access.

This is not over, if there is even a hint of corruption on MLB's part.  You cannot speculate.  If you were to do so, and were incorrect.  It would probably be a career ender for you.  However I have the luxery of not having to worry about such reprisals.

Considering Bud Selig's ties to the Brewers franchise, and the fact that the most popular player in that franchise's history since the days of Yaunt and Molitor is involved this story is far from dead.  Too many coincidences exist with this story.  The first time chain of custody had been broken, leading to the first appeal victory for a player just happens to be the prior seasons MVP from the franchise that you used to own.

If there is even a hint of monkey business, somebody will leak or it will eventually be discovered.  And then we are dealing with a much larger can of worms here.

So yes, it's dead for now. 

Since: Aug 28, 2011
Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:59 pm

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

"I'm sure a lot of the people who are convinced that Braun is guilty would look at the "technicality" a lot differently if they were accused of murder and a DNA sample was mishandled".  <br /><br />I firmly believe in the appeals process throughout sports, misdemeanors, felones, all applicable situations to prevent overlooked errors and mistakes from convicting an innocent man. <br /><br />Braun was the victim of an unfair release of information and possibly of a mishandled specimen. <br />The other side can atleast have doubt though that he may have benefited from it. Mishandled doesn't equal tainted or incorrect. I can pass a drug test with detoxification after I fail one easy especially with millions at my disposal. <br />I prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt. But doubt is not irrational. <br /><br />

Since: Jan 10, 2010
Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:57 pm


I always accept the results of a ruling or trial in total blind faith.  That is why i've been searching for the true killer of OJ's wife for 20 years now.  I knew a guy once who got pulled over for drinking and driving.  Cop adminsistered breathalizer and he failed.  Only he fought it in court and had the test thrown out because of an error by the cop in administering it.  Judge threw out the case and the charges were dismissed.  When people ask him if he was drinking and driving, he responds "its only drinking and driving if you get caught".  I suppose we should celebrate that Ryan Braun is innocent because it's only using steroids PED's if some arbitrary body finds you guilty based on stringent sample collection.  

Since: Aug 9, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:57 pm

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

Well done, Danny.

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