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: Oct 26, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:14 pm

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

And OJ never killed anyone

try to learn the difference between guilt and having your guilt be established properly
You Braun apologists make me laugh.

"he's always been clean"

His guilt was screwed up by the people in charge of proving it.

Just like OJ

But don't worry Braun faithers, this will follow Braun the rest of his life, and you people will be akin to those who claim 9/11 was an inside job, the Magic Bullet theroy is 100% correct, and that OJ is innocent.

Congrats and welcome to the club

Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:07 pm

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

Jack Sprat:  I agree with you 100% that in a court of law when someones freedom is hanging in the balance that every I should be dotted and every T should be crossed.  Braun used the legal system to overturn the 50 game suspension which is completely within his rights that were collectively bargained with MLB.  As I said earlier, congratulations to him.  But this was not a c. of c. issue that resulted with the sample being "in the middle of Times Square on New Years Eve." According to deadspin  "the collector, after getting Braun's sample, was supposed to take the sample to FedEx/Kinkos for shipping but thought it was closed because it was late on a Saturday. As has occurred in some other instances, the collector took the sample home and kept it refrigerated. Policy states that the sample is supposed to get to FedEx as soon as possible."  The "as soon as possible" part is where Braun got off.  The FedEx/Kinkos was still open late on Saturday night and therefore the sample was not sent "as soon as possible."  That to me is a technicality.  According to sources, the sample taker followed every other part of the collective bargaining agreement to the letter of the law.  Again, Braun did what was his right.  He fought the procedural issue and legally won.  No one is disputing that but to not think that is a technicality is odd.  I'm not sure what your definition of a technicality would be then.

Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:03 pm

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

I am not looking for a witch hunt at all. My disappointment is not that Braun is not guilty, my disappointment is with Knobler's piece, it didn't really turn up anything new and seems to just accept the arbitrtor's ruling. I wish that Braun is innocent of testing positive, I have nothing against him or the Brewers- I'm a baseball fan, and when any player (reining NL MVP, a pitcher or slugger on my favorite team even, for example) is found to have used performance ehnancing drugs, it is disappointing.

Nope, I got out of bed today, with nothing to throw in the caulderon and I am OK with that. - Cheers     

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:02 pm

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

Steroids, masturbation...two things that are nobody else's business.
I believe this is wrong,  Steriods and Masturbation are big business.  --DudleyDooWong

Dudley, of course they are, and properly a private matter between the parties of the first and second parts. That's why I put  piece of lead tape over the camera lenses on my laptop when busily engaged in either activity.

Since: Apr 23, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:02 pm

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

Let's be honest, folks. If the "defendant" had been named, say, Jose Rodriguez, do you think he would have gotten off? The Hebrew Hammer got off on a technicality. The results of the test were not faulty. He should be lustily booed accordingly at every MLB stadium not named Miller Park.

Since: Nov 25, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:01 pm

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

Loss of custody means that it could have been tampered with, degraded, etc. It isn't a technicality; it's a requirement for punishment. It would have been a losing proposition for Braun to say that he didn't take anything. It was in his sample. That is not in dispute. However, without provable chain of custody the evidence is suspect. While comparing this to a court of law or to a murder trial would be to elevate it to a level it doesn't deserve, chain of custody is absolutely required to assure all involved that the evidence collected has not been tampered with and was stored correctly to preserve whatever the test was developed to detect. It isn't a technicality; that implies guilt that the three person jury didn't comment upon. The third voter did not believe that the C of C was demonstrated and that to suspend Braun would have been an injustice. To say he's guilty and got off isn't correct. The data collected, and the way it was handled, was determined to be too flimsy to convict. If you believe there is some sort of conspiracy to protect the MVP, I'd say that doesn't make sense since MLB has expressed their displeasure with the ruling. Could they be publicly stating their displeasure but privately expressing joy at not having to deal with the MVP controversy? That seems unlikely after having to deal with Bonds breaking Aaron's record, Ruth's records falling in a McGuire/Sosa race, etc. Bottom line IMO is that MLB got sloppy since they never thought they'd have really defend themselves. No one had ever won an appeal and never would; after all, the testerone was in the tube. Collection, etc., became too routine and they appear to have stumbled.

Since: Mar 5, 2010
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:00 pm

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

jack sprat. If you were making a living in baseball, someone else cheating the system by using steroids would be your business. Alot of people who make a living in baseball one way or other are negatively impacted by the cheaters (players, front office presonnel, scouts, college recruiters, coaches, medical professionals, etc. etc. etc.). How about the kids whose only chance to go to college is through a scholarship, but he's competing against cheaters while he's clean?

Get the picture?

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:56 pm

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

yardog59, I'll take a stab at answering your question. I don't have the faintest idea whether or not Braun is culpable or not; nor do you or MLB. It is, however, manifestly obvious that a very large number of people have interests in this case tat are way more whack than those that might motivate a steroid abuser. It's a mindset that pleases the Devil no end. Wherever it's found, be that in 1600s Salem, Massachusetts, or while following avidly the McMartinville Pre-School trial or while awaiting with bated breath the fall of a human head into a basket during the Terror.

Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:50 pm

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

Steroids, masturbation...two things that are nobody else's business.
I believe this is wrong,  Steriods and Masturbation are big business. 

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:45 pm

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

Desirich, doubtless "plenty of unjust rulings occur every day." How can they not, with so many people like you eager to mete out unjust punishment for unproven, not to mention minor, offenses. Steroids, masturbation...two things that are nobody else's business.

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