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Tag:2012 Cactus League
Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:01 pm
 

Brewers player rep: Testing problems in Milwaukee

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- As Ryan Braun reported to camp on Friday, Brewers player representative Chris Narveson said there have been issues with drug testing before in Milwaukee.

Specifically, with one of his own tests shortly after last summer's All-Star Game.

"Mine was more of a failure to communicate that I was getting tested," Narveson said Friday morning. "You're walking out the door in your street clothes an hour-and-a-half after the game and they come up to you and say, 'We forgot to tell you, you're getting tested.

"Errors like that can't happen."

Narveson added: "It's interesting, that's two instances for us with the same group of guys testing. .... One time can be an aberration."

The pitchers said that after he was collared late for testing when leaving the ballpark after already dressing, that they tightened things up "and tried to make sure they notified us" more promptly after a game.

Still, Narveson said the players firmly support drug testing. They just want things done right.

"I don't think there are flaws in the system," Narveson said. "If they follow protocol the whole way, I don't think we have an issue."

But he pointed out that the testers did not follow protocol with him. And, of course, a large part of Braun's dispute was that his specimen sat at the tester's home for more than 48 hours before being shipped where it was supposed to go.

"Ryan's sample sat for 48 hours," Narveson said. "Anybody can do anything [to] it."

Narveson and several Brewers also sharply criticized the system for allowing a leak in the first place. News of Braun testing positive for synthetic testosterone leaked to ESPN in December.

"Now that we look back, if this didn't get out, nobody hears about it," Narveson said. "Braun comes in today and there's four or five reporters saying, 'How was your off-season?'"
Posted on: February 23, 2012 8:41 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 8:44 pm
 

What Braun says could save his reputation

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Ryan Braun beat the rap. But how bad of a hit did his reputation take in the process? And will a murky guilt-by-association tag hover over the rest of his career?

Well, that all depends. And it depends enormously on what he says when he arrives in Milwaukee's spring training camp on Friday.

In a perfect world, Braun being exonerated by the ruling Arbitration Panel would be enough. And maybe that should be enough. We live by the justice system in this country, and shouldn't it be enough to believe that justice prevailed here?

Of course, in a perfect world, Braun's failed performance-enhancing drug test never would have leaked in the first place. Privacy is part of the joint agreement between owners and players, and the PED stuff is all supposed to remain behind closed doors until the very end of the process, if a player winds up being suspended.

In this case, it didn't. And we know Braun tested positive for an incredibly high amount of testosterone. Rightly or wrongly, Braun has been boxed in because things leaked. He's said he is looking forward to the time when he can talk.

Well, that time is now. It will be Friday in Maryvale, Ariz.

According to sources, he beat the rap on a "chain-of-command" issue. Arbiter Shyam Das broke the panel's 1-1 deadlock by voting to uphold Braun's grievance, that his urine specimen, given on a Saturday, should have been immediately delivered to Fed Ex for shipping. Because of the weekend, the collector was instructed to take the specimen home, store it in a safe place and ship it on Monday.

Though the specimen was said to have no name attached and to have been sealed three different ways, because it sat for more than 48 hours, Braun won his appeal.

So what will Braun say, now that he's finally free to talk?

I hope he has some honest, heartfelt answers. I'd like to think he'll have a solid explanation for his heightened testosterone levels.

If he simply plays dumb and says he has no idea what happened or how any of this could have happened, it's not going to be enough to regain his full reputation. Shouldn't be that way, but it is. Especially because he's flat-out said he looks forward to the day when he can explain some of this.

Until this, Braun was one of the game's shining lights. With his case now closed, I hope he gives himself the chance to remain one.

 
 
 
 
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