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
Comments

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:52 pm
 

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

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.
Just show me how something happened to the sample (two actually, there is an A and a B) during that 48 hours that caused the positive test for artificial testosterone and I will believe Braun.  That's all I ask.  I don't care how long you wait to send the sample to the lab, the wait by itself does not cause artificial testosterone to appear where there was none before.

I understand and accept the arbitrator's ruling to the extent that the policy says "send the sample now" and there was a 48 delay.  My disagreement is with that delay, without evidence of tampering/contamination aside from the mere delay, automatically invalidating the test.  Bottom line, he still tested positive and no explanation has been given for that.  Until there is, many people will have doubts.



Since: Sep 24, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:45 pm
 

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

Perfectly said.



Since: Jan 8, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:42 pm
 

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

Thank you for a rational, reasonable summary of the situation.

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. 


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