Ryan Braun Suspension Overturned: Debunking the Rumors


-Curt Hogg-

To say Ryan Braun had the first successful positive drug test appeal ever merely because of a technicality is more than fallacious. There is no way the Braun camp or MLB would have leaked the results. No luck is involved in appealing a positive drug test.

The rumors are running rampant over the internet over the Braun case. Granted, many of them are simply comments from vehement fans on articles and posts, but those still count as rumors. After all, wasn’t this post “just a rumor” a week ago?

How and why Braun was proven innocent (or not guilty, however you choose to say it) is ultimately in the hands of the opinion holder. Understandably, every person will have a separate opinion on how Braun’s suspension was overturned and, though it shouldn’t have to be this way, whether or not the Brewers left fielder got off lucky. The most trustworthy source in this situation should be Ryan Braun, as he is the one who beat out Major League Baseball, which, in return, released an angry statement.

Rumor 1: Ryan Braun got off on a technicality

For starters, a mishandled urine sample is no technicality; it’s a major misstep in the drug testing process. Anything could have happened to that sample in the 48 hours the sample was missing, and arbitrator Shyam Das was not willing to put Braun’s career and reputation at stake with such a large question surrounding the test.

Additionally, Braun’s lawyers gathered weekly weight, strength, and speed information taken by the Brewers. As he said in his Friday press conference, there was no significant change in weight, strength, or speed on the bases throughout the season. Braun’s training regimen remained the same, as well. Let’s put two and two together: Braun’s test result showed testosterone levels three times higher than any other test recorded under the current MLB drug policy, but records show no physical change. Add to this the fact that the urine sample went missing for 48 hours, opening the possibility of a tampered test, and there is no “technicality” involved.

It would take more than merely a technicality for Das to overturn a positive drug test and 50 game suspension.

Rumor 2: The sample was handled correctly

Major League Baseball remains firm on the notion that Braun should have been suspended and the test was not mishandled.

“The extremely experienced collector in Mr. Braun’s case acted in a professional and appropriate manner,” MLB said in a statement.

“He handled Mr. Braun’s sample consistent with instructions issued by our jointly retained collection agency. The Arbitrator found that those instructions were not consistent with certain language in our program, even though the instructions were identical to those used by many other drug programs — including the other professional sports and the World Anti-Doping Agency.”

Notice that not once did MLB refute what Braun said about the absence of the urine sample for 48 hours. After contradicting much of what Braun said (including that the system is “fatally flawed”), all that has been said of the collector is that he “acted in a professional and appropriate manner”.

If not reporting the sample for 48 hours is acting a professional manner, then something is wrong with the drug policy.

Braun celebrates the Brewers NL Central crown

Braun is the first player to successfully appeal a positive drug test, proved there is no substantial case against him, had his reputation at stake, was tagged a PED abuser, and is now being called “lucky” for emerging on top.

Braun’s camp spent all winter contriving a case that would prove a) He is completely innocent or b) the testing process was flawed or mishandled. The primary issue with option a is that it’s virtually impossible to completely prove your innocence and no PED was ever taken. When they found out the test was mishandled and not delivered to FedEx immediately, the focal point of the argument was established.

Over the course of five weeks, Braun and his lawyers proved, for the first time in Major League history, that he was not guilty. Braun had his name “dragged through the mud” with reports of STD’s and major baseball writers such as Buster Olney calling for him to give back his MVP award. Major League Baseball was obviously against him, as was a significant amount of baseball fans. To overcome all this requires more than luck.

Rumor 3: Bud Selig played an  undercover role in the appeal

This is without a doubt the worst rumor I’ve seen yet. If all the rumors were true, then Bud Selig was the reason behind the reversal of the suspension because he used to own the Brewers. Not only is this completely crazy, but Selig sold the team to the Attanasio family seven years ago.

Yep. Ryan Braun will be playing this year because Bud Selig wanted the team he used to own to be able to compete.

5 Comments

Nicely done, Curt! I think I know where I’ll be getting my Brewers news from now on. :)

One thing…there IS a difference between “innocent” and “not guilty”. “Innocent” means just what it says. “Not guilty” means “not proven guilty in a legal proceeding”, most commonly in criminal court, where the standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. It CAN mean that the accused is innocent, but not necessarily. “Not guilty” simply means the prosecution hasn’t proven its case.

It’s important in this case, because while Ryan Braun was found not guilty, many people (wrongly) consider it a technicality, and not proof of his innocence. I’d like to know where Mr. Braun goes to get his reputation back.

Keep up the good work with your blog!

Signed,

A Lapsed Lawyer

Sigh. Should have been clearer. I meant to say, the break in the chain of custody was not a “technicality”. But only Ryan Braun knows whether or not he is truly innocent; no one can tell for sure from these proceedings, at least not with the evidence that’s been published so far.

Rumor 1,2, and 4?!

Testosterone is a hormone that is derived from cholesterol. It is broken down in the liver and, through a long process that I’m not going to explain because it would take too long, eventually secreted through the testicles in men, the ovaries in women, and in very small amounts by the adrenal glands. Synthetic testosterone is labeled as such because it is not produced by the human body. However synthetic testosterone is only sub-atomically different from naturally occurring testosterone. It takes a very elaborate test to differentiate the two. Gordonia bacteria is a naturally occurring bacteria of the human body. Gordonia bacteria is able to break down cholesterol and turn it into testosterone. Bacteria grows the best at room temperature. Anyone making the connection yet? If the sample did indeed sit on some random $@%!$@%’s desk for nearly 48 hours at room temperature, is it really so difficult to believe that a naturally occurring human bacteria could in fact break down cholesterol into testosterone under an ideal bacteria reproductive situation? Bacteria is not human, hence the “synthetic testosterone” that was found in the sample.

That is the reason why the chain of command was so important in this case, and as it should be in all drug testing cases. If one part of the process fails, then the entire process fails, which is exactly the way these protocol are designed. You can’t accept the results of the test if the process leading up to it failed. You can’t claim “technicality” if this was the way the system was designed and applied.Okay, since there is so much ignorance going on in here, I’ll attempt to enlighten a few of you as to how he could have “failed” a test without actually failing it. Please bear with me since this will be more than a few sentences long…

Testosterone is a hormone that is derived from cholesterol. It is broken down in the liver and, through a long process that I’m not going to explain because it would take too long, eventually secreted through the testicles in men, the ovaries in women, and in very small amounts by the adrenal glands. Synthetic testosterone is labeled as such because it is not produced by the human body. However synthetic testosterone is only sub-atomically different from naturally occurring testosterone. It takes a very elaborate test to differentiate the two. Gordonia bacteria is a naturally occurring bacteria of the human body. Gordonia bacteria is able to break down cholesterol and turn it into testosterone. Bacteria grows the best at room temperature. Anyone making the connection yet? If the sample did indeed sit on some random schumck’s desk for nearly 48 hours at room temperature, is it really so difficult to believe that a naturally occurring human bacteria could in fact break down cholesterol into testosterone under an ideal bacteria reproductive situation? Bacteria is not human, hence the “synthetic testosterone” that was found in the sample.

That is the reason why the chain of command was so important in this case, and as it should be in all drug testing cases. If one part of the process fails, then the entire process fails, which is exactly the way these protocol are designed. You can’t accept the results of the test if the process leading up to it failed. You can’t claim “technicality” if this was the way the system was designed and applied.

The man that handled the sample did nothing wrong..it clearly states that you cannot leave the sample at a fed ex drop box.So this man that has handled over 600 samples did the right thing..there is nothing in the guidlines saying he didn’t,and MLB even says that he did the correct thing so yes it is a technicality

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