It has been roughly a decade now since elevated testing for human growth hormones and steroid use has taken place. Now, for the first time, a Major League Baseball arbitrator has overturned a player’s 50-game ban of a drug testing violation. A coincidence—hardly so.
The details of the case are so broad that the skeptics have to wonder this time around. While the MLB front office may be “upset” over the ruling, their checkbooks must be feeling less pressure. No, Ryan Braun does not have that much league-wide impact, but there are many reasons why a simple drug test could have purposefully gotten mishandled.
Since the Milwaukee Brewers left the field, following a disappointing loss to the eventual World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, they were in search of an answer to fill the offensive hole they knew they had lost in Prince Fielder.
To then ascertain the thought of losing Braun for 50 games was a blow many felt was a knock out before spring training had even begun. It is agreed that the Brewers have a pitching staff that is at the top of the list in regular season productivity in 2011, but to put the power of the team on the back of Rickie Weeks and Aramis Ramirez would relieve the Brewers of being a serious playoff contender. Even if it is just 50 games.
From day one, Braun consistently denied allegations of illegal substance use to enhance his performance—just as every player caught in a substance violation has.
Now that the ruling has been made, the conduct of professionalism has to be questioned. At what point can the MLB be trusted?
In a league that is capable of paying a $250 billion contract, how do you hire part-time drug testing administrators. You are in fact putting not only the careers of these players, but the fellowship of baseballs’ fanbase at risk. These administrators’ first priority is not ensuring proper drug testing is completed, but making sure they're eight-to-five job is stable.
It can be hard to imagine that someone who has a part-time job testing professional athletes mishandles the one thing he/she is responsible doing. The scape goat is very etched in stone here, and it is hard to ignore.
The baseball community simply can’t take another blow from a very prominent player falling guilty to illegal substances. Especially one that has an extensive reputation and is very respected. Milwaukee could not handle the loss, and neither could baseball.
For years, we continue talk regarding tarnished records, and it seems just as someone approaches one, the realness of the situation feeds the media.
Plead innocence, and the rest will fall into place.
What does this mean? Exactly that.
All latest developments aside, hard to believe that this one time there was a mistake. MLB, regardless of what reports state, is very grateful to have Braun in the lineup. Milwaukee fans are happy to have their 2011 NL MVP back, and Ryan Braun has escaped a 50-game ban.
Nothing happens by coincidence.
Could the drug testing administrator have taken the blame to ensure Braun’s innocence?
Nothing will ever be clear in a sport dominated by the guilty proven elite. But who knows who is really violating rules anymore, as it seems to be of very little concern to team owners.
Fill the seats and tarnish the records of the games’ actual greats. This is now the norm and today’s fan doesn't know any different.
Is Ryan Braun innocent?
Due to the lack of professionalism and responsibility, the MLB will never have that answer.
To some, Braun will continue to lead with respect, while some now view him as just another great impostor to a sport that was once patrolled by natural baseball athletes.