Last Thursday the news broke that Milwaukee Brewers Ryan Braun had beat the system.
Braun’s urine tested positive for a banned substance last October, but he will not serve one day of the standard 50-game suspension given to first-time offenders.
It marks the first time an arbitrator has ever reversed a player’s appeal of the embargo set by MLB for a drug testing violation.
Braun’s legal eagles had the 50-game suspension overturned due to a loophole found in MLB’s Drug Treatment and Prevention Program Policies.
His lawyers made the case that the samples were wrongly handled by the authorized CDT Sports Collector, aka the test’s collector, which insinuates that there was possible tampering.
In the MLB Collection Procedures and Testing Protocols, the policy states that the sample is supposed to get to FedEx as soon as possible. (Read policy here, page 18.)
In Braun’s case, the collector said that FedEx was already closed, so he kept the sample in his fridge overnight and sent it out when FedEx reopened.
And that is the grey area that has won Braun his freedom from suspension, but what about his test results?
Braun Talks Too Much
Braun finally addressed the matter for the first time last Friday, which was one day post-verdict, at the Brewers' spring training facility in Arizona.
To me, Braun’s words sounded scripted and angry. He went on and on as if he was persecuted and unjustly framed due to a fatally flawed testing system.
He disclosed that the test’s collector did not follow the guidelines set under MLB’s collection procedure; there was no mention to whether Braun did or didn’t juice, or if the test was tampered with. He beat the system, but why does this seem to only happen in MLB?
The long-winded explanation triggered that feeling when you know someone is lying because they’re talking too much about why it is not their fault and, in the end, they come off looking guiltier.
Incorrect Protocol, But did Test Results Change?
The answer is no.
Maybe you will find comfort in knowing that MLB's commissioner’s office "vehemently disagrees" with the outcome, but personally I find that a little hard to believe.
Why? Well, to start, as far as money is concerned, MLB doesn’t want Braun missing 50 games—especially the season after the NL Central lost its two biggest superstars in Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.
Fact is, Braun is not as popular outside the Midwest as Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, but he is loved in Milwaukee, and the team’s playoff hopes would cut in half if he was gone for 50 games. The Brew Crew fanbase loves when their team is a contender, and sans Braun, you can hand the NL Central to the Cardinals in spring training.
The Braun Saga: Bothersome as an MLB fan
As a baseball fan, I find it sickening that Braun had no problem giving two speeches for winning the 2011 NL MVP Award, knowing that he had flunked a drug test.
I realize now that his impromptu NL MVP speech via the MLB Network was about as big an ego trip as I have ever seen before.
Braun went overboard, praising and basically high-fiving himself for his work ethic, and blah, blah, blah. Looking back, he should have been short and sweet knowing what we know now was true.