Ryan Braun PED Suspension Overturned: Why MLB Must Fight This Ruling

Chris SchadContributor IIIFebruary 24, 2012

MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 09:  Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers rounds the base on his 2-run home run in the bottom of the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game one of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 9, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jim Prisching-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

Ryan Braun became the first player in Major League Baseball history to win an appeal of a positive banned substance test on Thursday evening. As a result of the ruling, Braun will no longer serve a 50-game suspension that was handed to him when word of the test came out in late December.

As a result of the news, Major League Baseball has decided to use every avenue possible to try and reverse the decision, according to this statement by Rob Manfred.

"It has always been Major League Baseball's position that no matter who tests positive, we will exhaust all avenues in pursuit of the appropriate discipline. We have been true to that position in every instance, because baseball fans deserve nothing less.

"As a part of our drug testing program, the commissioner's office and the players' association agreed to a neutral third-party review for instances that are under dispute.

"While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das."

Since this statement came out on Thursday evening, a lot of people have been complaining as to why Major League Baseball would complain about one of their top superstars being cleared of drugs.

This is because Major League Baseball cannot afford to be wrong in these circumstances. If they are, the Major League Baseball Players Association will consider their testing to be unfair.

This would give them a huge grievance and MLB could find themselves in trouble despite hammering out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

An example of this could be made in the case of former MLB player Curt Flood. During the 1969 offseason, Flood was traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies. Flood was livid about this, as the Phillies were a bottom-feeder franchise at the time with a poor stadium and allegedly racist fans.

Because of this, Flood requested that Major League Baseball eliminated their reserve clause which stated that a player must remain with the team that drafted him throughout the remainder of their career.

After a lengthy battle with Major League Baseball, Flood would play again with the Washington Senators in 1971 where he struggled mightily. Alas, the Flood v. Kuehn battle, which likened the reserve clause to slavery, would eventually open the door for free agency and the 10/5 rule.

It was a situation where MLB probably knew they were wrong, but couldn't do anything about it because of the giant floodgates that were about to be opened had they admitted it.

A similar situation happened in the National Football League in 2009 when Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Pat and Kevin Williams tested positive for a banned substance that was found in the weight-loss supplement known as StarCaps.

Both Pat and Kevin (who are not related) claimed that the label on the package for StarCaps did not specify that the substance in question was actually in the product.

After a series of appeals, the NFL eventually won its case and both Pat (who has not played in the NFL since his suspension was handed down) and Kevin had to serve four-game suspensions the next season.

This is strictly a business decision by Major League Baseball, as they do not want to give players any more leverage than they already have.

Letting Braun walk onto the field without a fight would open many questions when it comes to players around the league, and Major League Baseball cannot afford for that to happen.

Basically, if Major League Baseball is going down, it's going down swinging.