It was not long ago that Ryan Braun took us on a trip to the world of the bizarre. Remember when he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and was initially suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games as per the agreement for an initial positive test.
Remember when Braun stood tall and filed a grievance claiming there were issues at play. Up to that point in history no player had appealed and had a positive test overturned. That is correct, every time the suspension was found to be accurate and consequently upheld. Remember when we were told that the sample could have been tampered with or altered in some way. I remember thinking, how? Then it was brought to light. The urine collector could not mail the sample off that night as he thought Fed Ex was closed. So he brought it home, stored it at his house and mailed it the next available day. That specimen showed up with the tamper proof labels intact.
Regardless, Braun won his appeal and had his suspension overturned in a 2-1 vote (players association member voted Braun, MLB representative voted suspension and the independent member sided with Braun). When Braun found out that he won his appeal he released the following statement:
“We provided complete cooperation throughout, despite the highly unusual circumstances. I have been an open book, willing to share details from every aspect of my life as part of this investigation, because I have nothing to hide. I have passed over 25 drug tests in my career, including at least three in the past year.”
Whether you believed him or not, that was that. The official record would show he did not fail a drug test and nothing further could be done. If he was in fact innocent, then Braun was vindicated. If he was using he got away with one. Either way it appeared over. Time moved forward and the issue was slowly fading away. In fact a “clean” Braun went on to post one of his best years in 2012. He hit .319, slugged .595, hit 41 home runs, drove in 112, stole 30 bases and scored 108 runs finishing second in MVP voting.
As the curtain closed on the 2012 MLB Season I found myself conflicted and wasn’t sure what to believe. He was clean in 2012 and had one of his best years. So if that is true maybe he was telling the truth and was clean the whole time. Maybe he was a subject of a conspiracy, maybe his sample was mixed up, maybe something got in the sealed specimen and skewed the test and maybe just maybe he was as clean as he claimed.
On the other hand I still thought he dodged a bullet and got away with one. He found a technicality, like lawyers always do, and found a way to get off. He did use, he did benefit from performance enhancing drugs and he did use a “get out of jail free” card saving his reputation. But was this right? What do I believe? I found myself debating all of these scenarios knowing I could not prove any beyond a reasonable doubt. So I decided to move on and just see what we get in 2013 and beyond. I decided to use reasonable doubt and give the man a chance assuming he really was being truthful.
Up Next: New Allegations