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: Sep 5, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:22 pm

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

Pretty easy to figure out a few things on this topic:

1.) The guys doing the testing sound like incompetent boobs.
2.) There is absolutely no logical basis as to why MLB would want him to be found innocent after they already found him guilty.  
3.) Some of you guys - even though you have absolutely no historical proof or knowledge to assume his guilt otherwise, actually its the exact opposite - need to get a life or at least a hobby other than baseball and/or legal topics.
4.) Lastly, some of the anti-Semitic ranting on here make the guys in #3 sound semi-intelligent which is no small feat.

And NO, I'm not a Brewers fan.

PS - MLB actually asked for this egg on their faces. The fact an inconclusive-positive test result was "leaked" is downright bush league. If I were Braun, I would've sued for about $250M and simply retired after that level of idiocy.

Since: Feb 24, 2012
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:21 pm

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

What I have a hard time with is Braun saying that he's innocent. Innocent of what??? His defense wasn't on the urine sample. It wasn't on the testosterone levels. It wasn't the eventual testing results. He argued that 48 hour period between Saturday and Monday morning. That was his argument. His one and only argument. I tip my cap off to his defense team for finding that loophole in the procedures and exposing it. It was enough to overturn the suspension. In my opinion, the rules should have been that if the specimen could not be shipped that very same day, then it should be stored at the testing facility until the next business day. This whole being able to keep in a fridge at someone's home is ridiculous. Grant it, the specimen was not tampered with and there was no evidence of it, its still fishy. Also, Braun needs to stop saying that he's innocent because he hasn't explained the high testosterone level and he doesn't have to. He got off on a technicality...plain and simple. If he thinks this is over, he's wrong. MLB wants, nor needs the suspension. I hope his defense is ready. Finally, I have a lot of problems with Knobler's article, but thats for another time.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:18 pm

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

Skylinechile, best served with those little crackers and plenty of hot sauce, I fear that your sense of "proportions" is maladjusted. Step back and take several deep breaths, sir. It's only a damn GAME! What's more, steroids are only effective because they're medicine. Used properly, sometimes effective medicine; sometimes not. In any case, their use is no more unfair than that of corked bats and doctored balls. By all means ban their use in baseball, but lower the volume. I'm far more concerned myself with the widespread sexual assault of water polo players, amateur wrestlers, football and rugby players, by their competitors, in the field of play.

Since: Mar 5, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:15 pm

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

Sure are alot of Brewers fans defending Braun. I wonder why.

Since: Feb 12, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:08 pm

Logically, Braun is innocent.....

Some people will always say that he was "let off the hook" on a "technicality"; some kind of loophole a guilty person might use to escape justice. But as Braun has stated in his press conference, there was considerable more to this reversal than a technicality.  The handling of his sample was more than unusual.  One thing that has largely been ignored is the unhuman amount of testosterone than was found in the sample.  Logically, that amount would be more consistent with contamination, apparently intentional, than that he had that amount of testosterone in his body. He also was able to present strong statistical evidence that there was no physical change in his speed or strength during the time since his last clean test.  One thing that the panel was able to agree on was that this test did not make sense when compared to other PED cases.  Add to that the unanimity of those who know him that he is disciplined in his health habits and that using illegal drugs is inconsistent with his character.  Finally, there was the confidentiality leak which also would be consistent with a spiked test.  Why sabotage somebody if there is a chance it could be kept quiet or found to be a flawed test?  I think more will come out about this sad episode that will further exonerate Braun.  In light of the facts as we now know them, anyone who wants to cling to Braun being guilty has to lay any semblance of objectivity aside.  Sadly, MLB seems to be more interested in preserving their "perfect record" in appeals than in the truth. They apparently turned down Braun's offer to do a DNA test to see if it was even his urine in the sample. Why would Braun want that if he was guilty?  Why would MLB deny the test if they were interested in the truth?      

Since: Mar 5, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:08 pm

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

jack sprat. You sound like an attorney or Don King. Where is the direct, straighforward answer?

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:05 pm

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

LongTimeFan?, I'll answer form your question to northern baller on my own behalf. Of course not, none of the above. However, while I have little sympathy for lynch mobs, I do believe in jury nullification in rare cases where individuals have stepped outside the law for good and sufficient reason. There is no perfect justice in this life and a man who takes terrible power unto himself must needs stand before the bar of justice. There, it is on the conscience of his peers where his fate lies.

Justice is properly organic, not mechanistic. There is no substitute for accepting the grave responsibility with which the knowledge of Good and Evil presents us. Nor our need, each and every one, for His Grace.

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:57 pm

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

You are a dope!

Since: Feb 4, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:55 pm

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

Braun should still be suspended 50 games, there is no question in my mind, and I do not agree with the the independent arbitrator at all.  Look, I do believe in justice, it is not a matter of that.  It is a matter of facts.  The facts are he tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone, and the facts are he is a cheater, and the facts are he should still be suspended.  This not a justice issue, it is a facts issue, and this is quite frankly a travesty of massive proportions.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:54 pm

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

CleveCards, I'm a man who detests the Mob and all who stand with it. I'm a man who believes that a cruel and unforgiving so-called "justice" should be reserved for those who wish it UPON THE INNOCENT. I'm a man who believes that there is a terrible, malignant cloud gathering in the sentiments of those for whom other men's lives are proper sport, to be despoiled for an afternoon's entertainment.

I'm a man who believes that cosmic jokes should be returned to sender.

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