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Ryan Braun on PED charge: “I’m completely innocent”

Dec 11, 2011, 12:16 AM EDT

braun wide getty Getty Images

There’s been so much blatant lying on the topic of steroid usage in baseball that fans have rightfully developed trust issues with the game’s athletes.

But Ryan Braun deserves to be heard on the charge that he was using synthetic testosterone — confirmed by an early-October positive test, then denied by a negative test a few weeks later.

Braun is allowed to tell his side of the story. And he’s doing just that in text message form with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Tom Haudricourt.

Here’s a text from the 2011 NL MVP that Haudricourt received around 10:40 p.m. CT Saturday night:

“I can’t wait to get that opportunity,” said Braun. “This is all B.S. I am completely innocent.”

Braun couldn’t offer much more because he’s in arbitration with Major League Baseball on the charge and the 50-game suspension that goes along with it. A mediator will decide his fate at some point soon.

  1. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:18 AM

    Sorry, but I don’t believe him.

    • marinersnate - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:32 AM

      Sorry, but I don’t believe YOU.

      • baseballisboring - Dec 11, 2011 at 3:35 PM

        Sorry, but I dont believe that you dont believe that he doesnt believe him.

    • paperlions - Dec 11, 2011 at 11:24 AM

      Injectable testosterone clears the body in a week to 10 days.

      Oral and cream forms clear the body within 24 hours, but provide so little testosterone that they have almost no effect.

      So….who cares that a follow up sample was negative? It would only be positive if he kept using after giving the first sample, which he probably knew he would fail.

      • macjacmccoy - Dec 11, 2011 at 3:36 PM

        IM with you that the 2nd negative test taken weeks later doesnt mean squat bc if he stopped after the 1st positive test it would have already be out of his system but your completely wrong saying oral steroids barely do anything. I dont know about creams but I know for a fact oral steroids are extremely effective. Dianabol better known as D-bol is one of the most effect steroids your can get and its ingested orally. Granted you have to take 5 – 5mg tablets 2x a day but 1 cycle (roughly 6 weeks) on it and you can easily gain 100 pounds to your bench press and 25 pounds of muscle.

  2. shawon0meter - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    I really hope he’s telling the truth.

    • thefalcon123 - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:24 AM

      On one hand, yes, I do hope he’s telling the truth. It’s bad for him, it’s bad for the game, it’s bad for everyone.

      Then again, it’s also awful if the testing system is flawed enough to cough out a false positive. He can be 100% innocent, but to many people, it won’t matter. The accusation has been made and he hits home runs. What else needs to be proven to a lot of people? See: Bagwell, Jeff

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:20 AM

        Jeff Bagwell gets a raw deal. Incredible player who’s career falls off at the right time, but wrong decade. After Mcgwire, Bonds, Palmeiro, and Sosa, a guy was supposed to peak at 36, not 26.

  3. randygnyc - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    Um, I don’t believe you. I’d say you’re lying.

  4. illogic87 - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:36 AM

    clay matthews is next

    • ndrocks2 - Dec 11, 2011 at 3:21 AM

      Clay and all those NFL dudes get there through hard work in the weight room. Only MLB has to take PED’s. I mean just take a look at average NFL player vs. average MLB player and you can tell the baseball player has to be the one who cheats, that’s common sense. I will admit Clay looks like a lot of the guys walking around baseball in the 90’s but that my friend is a coincidence.

      • notdumb - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:30 AM

        its not even close this is without a doubt the dumbest and most naive thing i have ever read on a sports talk site and i thought morons stuck to PFT and left baseball to people with brains . MOST PRO ATHLETES ARE ON PEDS dont worry about it steroids dont add skill they make an athlete more able to display their skill which is what we pay them for

      • jwbiii - Dec 11, 2011 at 7:43 AM

        Check the batteries on your sarcasm detector.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:08 PM

        A distressingly large portion of HBT commenters need to check those batteries.

  5. stabonerichard - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Braun has been busted for using synthetic testosterone (i.e. juicing) and the dude is regarded as one of the game’s top hitters/sluggers… while averaging 32 homers per year in his career thus far.

    So in previous years when multiple guys were regularly hitting 50+ bombs, perhaps there were more factors at play than just PEDs. Just a crazy thought.

    • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:28 AM

      Maybe Braun is not very good.

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:05 AM

        I know this this sounds ridiculous, but I say it in all seriousness. I played with guys who were good, then got awesome post roids, and they fully admitted it in the early 00’s (college). Camminiti was a crackhead dead 5 years after being the best player in the game. Barry Bonds and Big Mac hit 70 jacks in pitchers parks with the stuff.

        Does Prince Fielder’s stock go up because the best player in MLB took roids and was only a little better than him, facing the same pitchers and hitting in the same parks. If Braun is the only one cheating, either I oversetimate Barry Bonds, or Ryan Braun is the worst MVP of all time.

  6. guppies66 - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    I’m a Phillies fan so 50 games w/o Braun would be good. However, I believe him. He does not come off as one of today’s self-centered show-off athletes.

    Ryan, I am in your corner. I hope you prove them wrong.

    • notdumb - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:38 AM

      yeah duhhh ummm it takes someone self centered to take PEDs. maybe athletes aren’t gods just maybe and maybe they are normal people desperate to hold onto a dream job and get rich and famous and maybe under all that professional stress they resort to PEDs or maybe a guy playing a sport where everyone is on something might not want to be the one guy clean and at a disadvantage

    • davefoley0 - Dec 11, 2011 at 7:42 AM

      Not that it has ANY role in determining if a guy is juicing, but if you think Braun doesn’t come across as self-centered, you probably don’t live in or near Milwaukee. Listen to the guy on a daily basis, and he will come across as exactly that.

  7. Ben - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:03 AM

    I follow professional cycling pretty closely, and the drug use in cycling makes MLB look like a bunch of boy scouts. But it’s also made me aware of some of the absurd foibles of the testing system, but determining synthetic or natural testosterone as I understand it is pretty easy. Now, it’s possible he took some bad supplements or something, who knows. But I kinda doubt it.
    I sure hope he’s clean though.

    • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:30 AM

      I follow professional cycling too.


      Couldn’t say it without a straight face.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 11, 2011 at 9:09 AM

      but determining synthetic or natural testosterone as I understand it is pretty easy

      According to this article*, There is no difference between synthetic testosterone and naturally produced testosterone – they’re one and the same chemical. Same atoms, in the same configuration, forming the exact same molecule, with identical chemcial properties. At least at the atomic level. Once you mix natural and synthetic testosterone, you can’t separate them again, any more than you could separate Evian from Poland Springs bottled water after they’d been mixed. Actually that’s a bad example. It would be more akin to separating two kinds of distilled water from each other. Even that would be easier than testosterone, since one would presume that distilled water sources don’t change rapidly.

      At any rate, natural and synthetic testosterone are usually different at the subatomic level. Not sure if that means it’s easy or hard, but breaking down atoms would seem to suggest a bit of difficulty.

      • phillyphreak - Dec 11, 2011 at 4:44 PM

        There are published articles that actual say this can be done. It’s not my field but just knowing how far chemistry and technology has advanced makes me feel uneasy when someone claims something can’t be determined.

        But who really knows what’s the deal with this Braun thing….

      • phillyphreak - Dec 11, 2011 at 4:44 PM


  8. brewcrewfan54 - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    There goes Taco Bell screwing up orders again. He wanted the Chili Cheese Burrito, hold the steroids. I swear those Bell guys always screw you in the drive thru.

  9. cur68 - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    I’m pretty confused about the tests: numbers, kinds and results. This is all way too murky with far too little information to go out and call Braun a cheater at this point. I hope he can clear his name, but I have strong misgivings about how this is being handled in terms of disclosed information. By now, there should be 2 positive tests before this can proceed to a hearing and possible suspension. 1 + and 1 – test = innocent and no hearing.

    • Ben - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:22 AM

      The test for testosterone is pretty murky. There’s a certain ratio of testosterone/epitestosterone, and if I’m remembering right it’s 4:1. That’s pretty arbitrary and there are certain things that can skew that pretty wildly, so if Braun were accused of that I’d take this with a huge grain of salt. But he’s being accused of taking synthetic testosterone, which is easy to test for and pretty unambiguous. That’s much more damning. Now it’s possible he ingested it accidentally and he has a way to prove it. It’s happened before with tainted meat, etc. But that’s usually an excuse.

      • Ben - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:24 AM

        I should say, allowable ratio.

      • cur68 - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:36 AM

        4:1 testosterone to epitestosterone, yes and you get the automatic test for synthetics (WADA’s rule). That test chases a carbon isotope. There’s between a 2 to 5 % chance of a false positive on that test. Some say its higher, some claim lower. Its not a lock. So what the testing agency does is send out other samples in separate packages (inside joke: pee-mail) to outside agencies. They retest and if the “B” sample is also positive THEN you get all this media stuff going on. If negative, they consider it a false positive on the first and none of this happens. What’s reported above is 1 positive test and then one negative test. This media firestorm shouldn’t be happening then. I think what’s happened is that his “B” sample failed, too and then Braun had himself independently tested and passed that (hence the “1 + & 1 – tests reported)

        Now a hair sample test; that would be much better.

      • Ben - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:59 AM

        I didn’t realize the false positive rate was 2-5%. That’s pretty damn high.

    • randygnyc - Dec 11, 2011 at 3:50 AM

      From the first article here:
      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.

      So, there were 2 failed tests. The first one showed elevated level of testosterone in his urine. The 2nd (more comprehensive) test, which I suspect was a blood test, showed synthetic, laboratory made testosterone in his system. This alone precludes any natural explanation, ie: diet, stress, sex, etc of why his levels ere elevated.

      • cur68 - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:20 AM

        Hmm. Missed all that about the number of tests. So there are in fact 3 tests. Good. More the better.

        BUT as far as I’m aware when a synthetic enters the blood stream the methyl attached to the ester is cleaved. This renders the steroid “bioidentical” (it’s undifferentiated from the naturally occurring stuff). The actual test for a synthetic involves chasing a carbon isotope (I forget which but I think it’s a heavier form of carbon than us humans use: organic chemistry was a LONG time ago for me) that is a product of soy or sweet potato. That carbon signature is diagnostic of plant based steroid which = synthetic. BUT you can alter your body content of these plant androgens by eating them (or perhaps by using soy based products).

        You have to eat a lot and if have to have a bunch of other things going on too (stress, sex, etc) but that diet CAN introduce enough variability into the test results to come back positive for plant based carbon in testosterone. Believe it or not, WADA themselves sponsored a study that demonstrated exactly that effect. Check out Flenker & Schanzer for a better description of that work. The upshot is, the test is extraordinarily sensitive but the reason for the + result doesn’t have to be cheating.

        However, for that result to be wrong, then Ryan Braun better be able to demonstrate high soy intake & plenty of other lifestyle factors to account for it.

      • phillyphreak - Dec 11, 2011 at 7:35 AM

        Two things:

        1) methyl attached to the ester- I’m pretty sure this made people fall asleep! But as a science nerd I like it.

        2) So the two positive tests were on the same sample? Or different samples?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Dec 11, 2011 at 7:58 AM

        Yet more proof that Cur is the Rogue Chemist.

      • cur68 - Dec 11, 2011 at 11:50 AM

        Rogue Chemist? Moi? Not a chance. I was great in the lab, but LOUSY on the written work. Bad news for a budding chemist. My problem is that I was a Floyd Landis fan. Then THAT happened. I was sure hoping he was innocent. I looked all this stuff up ages ago (2005 was ages ago? it seems…) and discussed carbon isotope detection quite a bit with my nerdy lil’ buddies. Then, for a few years, I frequented a gym where some of the muscle heads used ‘roids (those guys LOVED to talk about it, too. Bore the sh!t out of you with all their jabber). Got to know more than was probably good for me on the topic. Sorry about the nerd-speak.

  10. brewcrewfan54 - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    Jokes aside, my Brewer fandom really want me to believe that he is innocent and from what they’re saying he very well may be. I sure hope so. They’ve had drug testing since Braun broke into Pro baseball in 2005 and I’m sure this hasn’t been his first test. I gotta think a 28 year old wouldn’t just start using roids now.

    • jwbiii - Dec 11, 2011 at 9:15 AM

      I just read through the JDA testing procedure again. Every player gets tested during spring training, generally with their annual physical. Every player gets a random unannouced test at some point during the season. Some have opined that these are not quite so unannounced, but that’s beside the point. Then there are an additional 1,200 random tests conducted throughout the season, preseason, postseason, and offseason. Tests conducted during the offseason are only for PEDs; if a player wants to shoot smack or take amphetamine fortified diet pills in December, that’s ok, he just needs to be sure it’s out of his system by spring training.

      So, brewcrewfan54, Ryan Braun has passed at least two tests per year during his major league career.

  11. marshmallowsnake - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    Whatever you say Braun. Raffi already tried this route.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:26 AM

      Rafi played in an era where there was no testing and use was rampant. Braun has been subject to drug tests since his first day in pro baseball. Braun becomes that much more believable compared to Rafi for that reason alone.

  12. bossaliniee - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:39 AM

    Another dope head.His legacy is trashed and rightfully so bum.

  13. Chris Ross - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:39 AM

    I love how everyone proclaims their innocence yet virtually all of them are never able to actually prove their innocence. It’s just too rich and I love it when guys get caught for cheating. He did turn his cheating in $150 million so it isn’t all well and good but at least he isn’t getting of scot free. It definitely is too bad though that one of the bright young stars of the MLB is now tainted. Not a good day for baseball.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:53 AM

      It’s hard to prove innocence when the public perception is now he’s guilty. It was irresponsible of ESPN to leak the imformation before MLB dealt with his situation in full. That’s no surprise though in dealing with ESpN though. Braun may very well be guilty but it’s especially hard to be innocent when reporters write blogs saying he’s guilty, no ifs, ands, or buts about it even when there’s reason to believe he may not be.

      • lardin - Dec 11, 2011 at 9:11 AM

        Why? The facts are pretty clear. He failed a drug test. The only way he can avoid a suspension is a successful appeal which has never happened. What would be irresponsible is to say he failed drug test when he didn’t. Like it or not failed tests are news. Journalists investigate and report the news. The facts are what they are. Are you asking espm to not do there job?

      • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:57 PM

        Seeing as MLB isn’t the one who reported the suspension it means they are giving Braun his due process. ESPN has decided to take that due processaway from him in order to make news. That’s pretty typical of ESPN nowadays. I’m not saying Braun is innocent but he along with any other MLB player deserve to have their appeals heared before news breaks. I got new for ya, ESPN’s journalistic integrity has been getting lower and lower for a while now. I wouldn’t defend them if I were you.

    • thehypercritic - Dec 11, 2011 at 3:05 AM

      So using science to enhance your body in ways that no study shows definitively helps performance is bad, but taking the ligament from a corpse and using it in a player’s body is good?

      Who came up with this bizarre morality rating system? What adult actually cares if the grown men assume the risk and use? And can we at least call it “rule breaking” instead of cheating, as cheating implies gaining a competitive advantage?

  14. ikedavisnose - Dec 11, 2011 at 1:46 AM

    I agree with the person who said that when Roids were in their “Hayday” they were hitting 50 BOMBS while he just hit 32
    Also anyone notice that on ESPN college basketball and a freaking trade that hasn’t even happened yet are both getting treated as bigger news then the reigning NL MVP testing positive Although it could be worse they havent reported whether Tebow went to the bathroom yet or not

  15. thehypercritic - Dec 11, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    I thought we all got past caring what grown men put into their bodies, especially since we’ve still yet to see a test that shows they improve baseball performance.

    Why can we act rationally when this happens in the NFL — release a collective yawn and return to enjoying the show — but the world goes bananas when there’s the suggestion someone might have been using in baseball??

  16. ndrocks2 - Dec 11, 2011 at 3:11 AM

    Don’t know what he did take and if he is innocent or not but why do they put themselves into these situations by taking anything close that will kick out a false positive? Their trainers, docs?, etc. know where to draw the line but again here is a guy who is going up to the edge and appears to have stepped over. Why put yourself in that position to begin with??? Hope it is worth it because no matter what happens now there will people who drag this up the rest of his career, tainted forever no matter what his denial/challenge results are.

  17. Cran Boy - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:17 AM

    From the guy who wrote the book (literally):

    If Will Carroll says we should reserve judgment, i think it’s prudent to reserve judgment.

  18. jrspike - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:24 AM

    That’s what I would say, it must have been something in
    My drink. Please go stand in the corner on time out, take the 50 days and come back with Manny.

  19. cup0pizza - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:40 AM

    O.J., Casey Anthony, Ben Bernanke, Henry Paulsen & Tim Geithner are innocent, too. Congrats to 2011 NL MVP Matt Kemp. Up yours, Braun.

    • thehypercritic - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:47 AM

      Wow. Someone forgot their meds.

      Sure the stimulus needed to be twice as large, tarp should have been tied to mortgage refis and a mechanism to keep irresponsible states from shirking government spending during a recession should have been in place.

      But even J.M. Keynes himself wouldn’t have paire the first two with the last three.

      • lostsok - Dec 11, 2011 at 7:08 AM

        “But even J.M. Keynes himself wouldn’t have paire the first two with the last three.”


  20. notdumb - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:48 AM

    and here is another example of the sports media influencing the value and or status of a athlete almost everyone on here seems to be desperate to believe braun why because hes been portrayed as a clean cut golden boy but let a player like bonds belle or bagwell fail a test and everyone has their pitchforks out

    • thehypercritic - Dec 11, 2011 at 6:06 AM

      Fairly certain everyone who cares what a complete stranger puts in his body, let alone gets worked up about it, is a stark raving lunatic.

      You’re just getting the fringes of extreme opinions on here — my two cents as far from the moralizers without proof to back their self-righteous nonsense as can be, but certainly among the most extreme versions of my opinion you’ll find.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 11, 2011 at 8:33 AM

      The difference being all those players played during a time where PED use was known and was rampant. Braun has been getting tested since day 1.

  21. uyf1950 - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:59 AM

    Since MLB began “officially” testing players for steroids in 2005. You can now add Ryan Braun to the attached, once his appeal is heard and in all likelihood rejected.

    • jwbiii - Dec 11, 2011 at 9:28 AM

      uyf1950, I use this one because it includes minor leaguers and notes:

  22. phillyphreak - Dec 11, 2011 at 7:37 AM

    I feel comfortable saying that although PEDs are illegal, I’m not sure we really know how much they improve “skill.”

  23. badmamainphilliesjamas - Dec 11, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    Thanks to those who’ve added some factual insight to this thread. I’ve become skeptical of much reported by the worldwide leader in moral outrage. I’ll reserve judgement until all of the information is available.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 11, 2011 at 9:17 AM

      Not sure if they’ve changed their coverage in the interim, but what really grinded my gears last night was the absolute refusal to mention that he got a second test at his request and passed (9pm-ish coverage, so the story on the website already mentioned it for a few hours). All they mentioned was that he failed, and they never brought up that there might be some mitigating circumstances.

      With the Bernie Fine coverage, and Roethlisberger a few years ago, and now this, ESPN has really lost all semblances of journalistic integrity.

  24. buffalomafia - Dec 11, 2011 at 8:38 AM

    He doesnt look like he is on steroids? Usually when you take steroids you get huge quick! Unless your like Roger Clemons & get a big gut instead.

  25. cintiphil - Dec 11, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    Bonds is also innocent as so is Mac and so is Roger etc. etc. MLB has to verify and prove the results first, then take away the honors given him right away and give to the deserving guy.

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