On Thursday, reigning National League MVP Ryan Braun became the first baseball player to successfully appeal a 50-game suspension for a positive drug test. Since reports of Braun’s positive test first surfaced in December, he has maintained his innocence, continuing to claim that his name would be cleared through the appeals process. And while his suspension is lifted, his name is not cleared.
Braun won his appeal on a technicality; his argument didn’t center on science or tampering, and Braun’s lawyers never asserted the test was faulty. The basis for Braun’s successful appeal was that Major League Baseball did not follow protocol when administering the test. After acquiring a urine sample from a player, the official who administered the test is supposed to immediately ship the sample to a lab to be tested. However, the official that tested Braun thought that the local FedEx store was closed, and stored the sample in his basement over the weekend. Braun’s 50-game suspension was lifted solely because the official did not immediately ship Braun’s sample.
Braun’s test contained synthetic testosterone. Synthetic testosterone does not grow in a urine sample overnight, and Braun has not claimed that his sample was tampered with. Not all the details of this story have surfaced yet, but it seems pretty clear that Braun is getting away with using performance enhancing drugs. This is a huge step back for Major League Baseball and its drug testing policy.
An entire era of baseball from the 90s to the early 2000s has been tainted by performance enhancing drugs. Many of baseball’s most sacred records were set during the “Steroid Era” and almost all of the players who have set these records are marred by steroid use. All-time greats like Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, and Barry Bonds all have invisible asterisks next to their records.
Since this tainted era, Major League Baseball has adopted the most stringent testing policy in all of sports. Only a handful of relatively anonymous players have violated the policy over the past few years, and other professional sports leagues have adopted testing policies similar to baseball. Abuse of performance enhancing drugs was considered to be all but eradicated.
There’s no excuse for a professional sports league that supposedly has the most rigorous testing policy in all of sports to carelessly bungle such a routine task.
After the cloud of steroid abuse finally appeared to have dissipated over baseball, its MVP suddenly tests positive and then gets away with it on a technicality. How can a sport that has been so terribly afflicted with PED use make such a careless mistake as to allow one of its marquee players to publicly get away with a violated drug test? The official who administered the test was undoubtedly careless, but in this situation the fault lies with baseball’s testing policy itself. Their methods for testing are clearly not as organized as previously thought. If there is any doubt that a urine sample won’t reach a lab promptly enough, then the test should be administered sooner. There’s no excuse for a professional sports league that supposedly has the most rigorous testing policy in all of sports to carelessly bungle such a routine task. And MLB also deserves some scorn for allowing the Players’ Union to write such a loophole in its testing policy when negotiating the last CBA.
As a baseball fan I was tremendously disappointed to see one of the games most popular players test positive, but I am even more disappointed to see him get away with it. Fans can reluctantly accept that one of the game’s best players cheated if justice is brought and he is punished appropriately. But to see him win an MVP award while using PEDs, when the rest of the league is assumed to be clean, and then get away with it? This is unacceptable. MLB needs to rewrite its testing policy to ensure something like this never happens again. They also need to administer as many tests to Ryan Braun as necessary to ensure he is PED free.
Fan Hub Action
Jeanne-Marie Jansen Lowell May 23rd
Greatest relief pitcher EVER! Someday we can all tell our grandchildren we got to see him pitch. A true legend!
Charlie Lobosco May 23rd
Ask Craig; I’ll say it again; not the best relief pitcher ever; the best MLB player ever. Yes, that includes everyone.
Jim Lowell May 23rd
Great tribute to a great player, a great Yankee, and a great man.Thank you!
Frank Lowell May 23rd
Great job, Ryan! As a life-long Yankee hater since the 1950’s in the closing days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, I can only sit back and…
Tiffany Riddle May 23rd
Love the article, and I completely agree!
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
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ALL TIME FAVES
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