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MVP Braun’s positive test spells disaster for MLB

Dec 10, 2011, 8:54 PM EST

Ryan Braun Getty Images

This is just the kind of PR mess that commissioner Bud Selig and his cronies didn’t need this month.

The National League’s newly minted Most Valuable Player tested positive for enhanced testosterone levels during the postseason, and now Ryan Braun joins legends like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez and Mark McGwire in being implicated for steroid usage.

Through his own PR guy, Braun maintained his innocence, and there’s a chance his name will be cleared on appeal. Still, the steroid taint never goes away entirely.

It’s a real shame, in part because Braun seemed a bit more human than some of the league’s recent heroes. At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, he looks normal enough, yet he hits some of the hardest balls of anyone in the league. Braun also has a rep as a good guy, and he committed himself to spending the bulk of his career with the small-market Brewers when he signed a $105 million extension through 2020 in April.

So, if a guy like Braun, who has next to nothing left to gain financially by roiding, is cheating anyway, it suggests baseball’s steroid problem isn’t even close to being wiped out. That baseball gets the bulk of the attention in this department even though steroids have certainly been more prevalent during the NFL’s history isn’t fair, but it’s the game’s burden anyway.

  1. Ben - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    More importantly, it casts doubt on whether the steroid era truly ended.

  2. scareduck - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    OMG! MY BODY! IT IS FULL OF STEROIDS!

    I honestly don’t give a damn about this, and hope the idiots who do can calm down enough to recognize that a positive test is not some sort of permanent condemnation.

    • hittfamily - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:22 PM

      Anyone trying to succeed in any industry should be angered by your comment. I don’t want to jeopardize my morals, principals, and most importantly my health in order to succeed in business, and Braun’s peers don’t either.

      If your competition is using bribes to succeed and you are not, they should be subject to criticism and discipline. If your competition is using undocumented workers to succeed, and you are not, they should be subject to criticism and discipline. If your competition is not paying taxes in order to succeed and you are not, they should be subject to criticism and discipline. If your competition is using plagiarism in order to succeed and you are not, they should be subject to criticism and discipline. If your competition is using illegal drugs in order to succeed, and you are not, Ryan Braun should be subject to criticism and discipline.

  3. Kevin S. - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    Reports coming out that the second test was not positive. If true, this absolutely never should have been reported. And people wonder why players are against testing. Regardless of how valid the positive on that first test was, Braun’s reputation is tarnished forever now. Awesome.

    • sarcasticks - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:31 PM

      Uh, no. First test showed elevated testosterone levels, which led to second test. Second test showed synthetic testosterone (i.e. not made by your body.)

      Players are against testing because they want to do steroids. Seriously man, questioning the test? Weak.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:35 PM

        And upon being informed of testing positive, he requested a re-test, which came back negative. Seriously man, ignoring due process? Weak.

      • sarcasticks - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:55 PM

        I don’t ignore due process, but you have to understand that a negative second test (if true) does not negate a positive first test. Honestly, I don’t even care about Ryan Braun, but apologizing for these athletes is ridiculous. If you don’t care that they use PEDs that’s fine, but don’t claim irreparable harm to his reputation based on the possibility of a second negative test, after a first positive test.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:23 PM

        Honestly, I don’t even care about Ryan Braun, but apologizing for these athletes is ridiculous.

        How about before we all jump on our moral high horse, we wait for more information to come out? Colin Wyers pointed out on twitter that the false positive rate for this type of test could be greater that 5%. There are over 20 responses on this topic. If each one of us took the test, one of us would have failed the test.

      • randygnyc - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:24 PM

        Bravo. Everyone missed that in the article. MLB found elevated levels of testosterone in his urine. These positive findings are from a second failed test. Id also suspect that this additional test was a blood test because the lab determined that the steroid found in his blood was synthetic (man made). Diet, stress, etc COULD NOT CAUSE A FALSE POSITIVE. It is clear that Braun took a banned substance. His ONLY possible defense is that he used something and didn’t know the ingredients. Although, I don’t buy it.

        BRAUN IS ACTING LIKE THIS IS A FIRST TIME POSITIVE. CLEARLY, it is NOT.

      • rje49 - Dec 11, 2011 at 8:00 AM

        I’ve been using synthetic testosterone for 11 years now, after a blood test showed that my level was way too low. I’m sure many other men have the same condition. The body needs a certain level of testosterone to avoid other medical problems. I was never a very strong guy, and I’m still not.

    • APBA Guy - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:32 PM

      Second test was not tested by an independent agency, but by Braun’s people. That’s not indicative.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:38 AM

        I hadn’t heard that at the time I posted, obviously that changes things significantly. Still, I’m pretty distressed that this is out while the appeals process is still ongoing.

      • randygnyc - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:00 AM

        You’re confusing the tests. MLB did a test, maybe a series of test even, that determined Braun had elevated levels of testoreno (failed test number 1). Then, MLB gave him a more comprehensive blood test during the playoffs. This time they again found elevated levels of synthetic testosterone. This substance is created In a lab and can’t be reproduced in the body naturally, or through diet or stress, etc. The 3rd test was done by Brauns own peoPle. If any test was probably flawed, it would be that one. And a new negative, DOES NOT CANCEL OUT A PREVIOUS POSITIVE TEST according to MLB.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:17 AM

        You know, for all your screaming, you’re a little short on the facts. MLB has not begun blood testing yet. Also, there are no “baseline” tests for testosterone. Read here: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/will_carroll/12/10/braun-positive-test/index.html?sct=hp_t2_a7&eref=sihp

      • randygnyc - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:40 AM

        KevinS, the facts are not mine, but rather from the first story here about Braun.

        The 28-year-old Braun had to provide a urine sample for testing during the playoffs, and he was notified of the positive test sometime in late October — about a month before he was named the National League’s most valuable player.
        The positive result was triggered by elevated levels of testosterone in Braun’s system, the sources also told “Outside the Lines.” A subsequent, more comprehensive test revealed the testosterone was synthetic — not produced by Braun’s body.

        If MLB has an already positive result (which in this case was done through a urineanalysis), they can get a blood sample for confirmation and precision. MLB may have completed multiple urine tests on Braun, and only telling him the last results before the blood test. Once they found laboratory made testosterone in brains body, he essentially lost any credible defense, imo

  4. oregoncoastdailynews - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    MVPED!

  5. mydadyourmom - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    Haha typical. Tough offseason for Brewers fans. Roids, Prince leaving…and worst of all, Alex Gonzalez.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:50 PM

      Don’t forget keeping KRod’s overpaid ass. Shit, what an offseason.

      • hittfamily - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:33 PM

        Axford for Trumbo/Alonso?

        Might not be that horrible.

      • hittfamily - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:37 PM

        Or Axford for Fuld if you want a left fielder to play awesome for 50 games, then be horrible the rest of the year. But you only need him for 50 games anyway.

  6. mattjg - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    When you consider the ways in which Braun has embarrassed baseball, this doesn’t even approach his Affliction-inspired t-shirt designs.

  7. Detroit Michael - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    Viewed differently, the test may be evidence that MLB’s drug testing policy is working, that a steroid user may be caught, as Braun was seemingly.

    The fact that one can spin it either way, suggests that it is futile to generalize from Braun’s incident to what the rest of the professional baseball players do.

    • 78mu - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:30 PM

      That’s what I thought when I saw the story. The game is bigger than any player no matter how good they are.

      To me it shows that MLB takes PEDs seriously.

      • JBerardi - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:25 PM

        Everyone wanted a drug testing policy. Now people are getting the exact thing they asked for but somehow they’re still outraged.

      • hittfamily - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:53 PM

        I don’t think anyone is outraged at the test. They are outraged at the idiot who failed it.

  8. bigjimatch - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    Remember when Ken Caminiti said more the half the league used steroids and everyone thought he was nuts.

    • thefalcon123 - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:08 AM

      Hell, I remember when Jose Canseco said 75% of the league was doing steroids and everyone thought HE was nuts…

      …then he put his ex-girlfriend’s number on twitter, sent his twin brother to fight for him in a celebrity boxing match and many, many other things to confirm he was nuts.

      He was probably right about the steroids though.

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 3:29 AM

        But he did bang Madonna when she was hot. Although it was after Vanilla Ice, and Dennis Rodman so——yep. He’s nuts. And probably itchy. He needs some:

        ICE ICE BABY.

      • thefalcon123 - Dec 13, 2011 at 2:14 PM

        Wrong hitfamily!

        According to his own book, he only got to 2nd base with Madonna. Maybe not even that far. Apparently they just watched part of “Body of Evidence” and held hands.

  9. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    Maybe he just has bigger balls than the rest of us.

    • spudchukar - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:31 PM

      More than likely it would be the other way around.

  10. hammyofdoom - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    I always want to be skeptical at first and really not think this guy guilty until its been proven (especially with how easy it is for a false positive to pop up in drug tests) but if this is true? This is absolutely crushing since baseball is held to a different regard than the NFL just being honest here, and I know a lot of fans who thought that baseball was relatively clean. This is just…wow

  11. deathmonkey41 - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    Big Papi is next!

    • aceshigh11 - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:59 PM

      Jeezus, you are f’n obsessed. Seek help.

  12. frankvzappa - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Can’t any of these multi-millionaires afford a simple Whizzinator?

    • sarcasticks - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:03 PM

      They can, but getting caught with the Whizzinator is worse than getting got with a positive reading. Because apologists will all jump out to defend a positive result. But a rubber dick in your hand? No one touches that.

      • beavertonsteve - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:15 PM

        I certainly wouldn’t touch it.

  13. hittfamily - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    You forgot Ken Camminiti when discussing former MVPs with steroid links.

  14. higgy5353 - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    Who cares!!!! I would rather watch players like McGwire and Bonds instead of players like Juan Pierre!!!!

    • hittfamily - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:36 PM

      If you were Juan Pierre and didn’t have a job because of others illegal business practices, you would probably disagree.

      You probably think that Wal-Mart is good for this country too right?

  15. metalhead65 - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    so I guess if Braun retires now then comes back in spring training he will get his suspension cut in half right? and please stop comparing football with baseball. let’s just say one sport is just a little more physical so you can understand why those who play it would take them. does not make it right but by nature those guys are large human beings to begin with not like certain baseball players who turn into the incredible all of sudden and set records they would not have without using them.

    • JBerardi - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:23 PM

      Translation: steroids are ok for football but not ok for baseball because shut up, that’s why.

      • metalhead65 - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:42 PM

        there are football players who do it so why can’t we? great argument for roiding up and breaking records.

      • metalhead65 - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:44 PM

        last time I checked this site was about baseball not football and you being ok with roids in baseball because there might players who take it in the nfl is weak.

  16. lookatthefarside - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:08 PM

    Rood Era still goin STRONG!

  17. Walk - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    I once worked with the urinalysis nco for my company. If first random test was positive then a second sample was drawn if it was negative, no charges filed. If it was positive a new sample plus both previous samples were then sent to an independant lab for confirmation. Samples were shipped seperately as well. This avoided contamination and guarded against false positives. A second clean test did in fact invalidate a previous positive in this case. Yes fast drugs that cleared a person’s system benefitted from this but i believe it eliminated any defense from claiming test was a false positive. I have read that some of the performance enhancing drugs can only be detected in a shot possibly 2-3 day window upon use but it is better to let those go than accuse someone with a false positive and that will happen. It is statistically impossible for it not to. Of course there is no way i want to claim i was the false positive, that is a losing position any way you look at it.

    • cur68 - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:07 AM

      “I have read that some of the performance enhancing drugs can only be detected in a shot possibly 2-3 day window upon use but it is better to let those go than accuse someone with a false positive and that will happen.”

      You are thinking of HGH: it clears the system very fast so it’s hard to detect.

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 2:18 AM

        You seem knowledgable on this cur. What would cause a failure. Is it steroids?

        Also, are there any substances that could casue a false positive?

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:18 AM

        Oh wait.

        Cur seems knowlegable on everything. There is nothing Cur68 won’t google and pretend to be a scholar on. Disregard all his info, as wikipedia will be just as helpful.

      • cur68 - Dec 11, 2011 at 11:57 AM

        Jeez. Was it something I said or did mom make you get up from the wrong side of the basement bunk? Well, whatever. I looked all this stuff up about 6 or 7 years ago when Floyd Landis was going through his problems, so you’re a little right: I looked it up. Try it sometime. Its called “research” & “remembering” so you don’t have to go around insulting people like a “rude, ignorant douche”.

  18. sportsnutmilw - Dec 11, 2011 at 4:29 AM

    This is devastating. I am hoping by some miracle it isn’t true. I have always thought Ryan had a thyroid problem because of his bulging eyes. So maybe that could have contributed to the positive results. I just don’t want this to be true :-( he is milwaukee’s golden boy!

    • chrisny3 - Dec 11, 2011 at 7:11 AM

      If Braun was taking medically prescribed drugs for a thyroid problem and these drugs had a tendency to trigger positive results on a steroids test, then he should have gotten permission from MLB ahead of time to take them. He and his agent can’t be that stupid. Everyone knows the rules, and there’s no excuse for not informing MLB beforehand. Players get permission to take banned substances very often. Most notably ADD drugs such as ritalin.

      Since MLB started its testing program, lots of players have attempted to appeal positive results and not one appeal has been successful.

    • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 8:33 AM

      Devastating?

      In the UK you would be guilty of uttering. Yeah, you heard me, Uttering.

      Of course I have no idea what uttering is though, but I bet you uttered something when that asanine explaiaination of his positive test came out of your mouth.

  19. chrisny3 - Dec 11, 2011 at 7:02 AM

    “So, if a guy like Braun, who has next to nothing left to gain financially by roiding, is cheating anyway, it suggests baseball’s steroid problem isn’t even close to being wiped out.”

    This is nonsense. First, as we’ve seen with prior athletes who have been caught, money is not the only motivation for juicing. Bonds started juicing because of his jealousy of Sosa and McGuire. And older athletes like Manny do it because they psychologically can’t deal with the physical decline. They do it as much for their ego and the glory as they do it for their wallet. Maybe Braun had been tested numerous times throughout the 2011 season and figured he wouldn’t be tested again late in the year.

    Second, the fact that so few high profile baseball players have been caught using steroids since MLB’s drug testing got really strict (around 2005) could be testament to just how effective it is today and how it is keeping most players clean. No doubt there may be a few falling through the cracks. But I would guess it’s on the order of a handful. I would bet that most of baseball is clean of steroids today.

    From what I’ve read, MLB’s testing program is currently as aggressive as what is done in the Olympics and in international sports. There is no reason to think there is a problem with steroids in baseball today like there was just 10 years ago.

  20. tuucamaron - Apr 23, 2014 at 6:06 AM

    No one knew he was getting off with a technicality and then went to that Anthony bosch joker guy

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