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MLB official says Ryan Braun’s 50-game PED suspension is unlikely to be overturned

Jan 1, 2012, 1:26 PM EDT

braun getty wide Getty Images

At some point within the next few weeks, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun will have the opportunity to plead his innocence against a charge that he was taking performance-enhancing drugs around the start of the 2011 postseason. But he faces great odds.

The evidence against him comes in the form of a test, administered in either late September or early October, that had a positive reading for elevated levels of testosterone. That test was then passed along to the World Anti-Doping Agency lab in Montreal, where it was determined through further examination that the testosterone was synthetic — not produced by Braun’s body.

Braun might argue that the result was a false-positive, but an expert in the field of drug testing told Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports last month that those are “almost impossible” with today’s technology. Braun might say that result was triggered by a prescribed medication — something non-performance-enhancing — but how can he prove that and would it really matter if he could? The test showed insanely high levels of unnatural testosterone. However that testosterone arrived in Braun’s system, it’s against the rules for it to be there.

And even if Braun is telling the truth, and has never put synthetic testosterone into his body, a test that boasts an accuracy rating of nearly 100 percent says that the stuff was, at one point, present.

Which leads us to a report from Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who was told this weekend by an “MLB official familiar with the process” that Braun’s 50-game suspension is unlikely to be overturned. The 2011 NL MVP deserves his day in court, and he’ll get it later this month when he presents his case in front of an arbitrator, but it’s nearly certain that he’ll miss close to one-third of the 2012 campaign.

  1. Old Gator - Jan 1, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    The Brewers will have a third of a season to redecorate the cellar. That’s good, because that wallpaper is just awful.

  2. cur68 - Jan 1, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    I hope Braun can clear his name, but if the reported skew on the testosterone:epitestosterone levels are accurate, really the outlook for him is poor from the get go.

    • Old Gator - Jan 1, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      With testosterone levels like that, you can only hope that he stockpiled plenty of strange.

      • cur68 - Jan 1, 2012 at 2:30 PM

        You know what I want to know? Who’s the blabbermouth. Who’s the unnamed source that keeps saying this stuff? That person deserves to be fired and then prosecuted. This is supposed to be a confidential process. At this point, even if Braun can clear his name, he’s been dragged through the mud already.

  3. Old Gator - Jan 1, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Jon Heyman? Or is Scott Boras not on the medical committee?

  4. lovesmesomeme - Jan 1, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    He caught got doing something most of us wage earning slaves would do to make that kind of money. I propose making all ped’s legal, bring back greenies, yellows and blues. Have a vending machine full of whatever the user likes to use and then sit back and then let Darwin take over.

  5. marshmallowsnake - Jan 1, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Every instance of a player testing positive should be reported so the people who pay to see the game can know how fraudulent it really is.

    • pjmarn6 - Jan 1, 2012 at 6:36 PM

      Hell the last ten seasons have been fraudulent. Every person who attended the games and watched on tv or listened on radio should get their money back and every player, owner and administrative person down to the batboy should turn their money and salaries back to the fans!

      • pjmarn6 - Jan 1, 2012 at 6:37 PM

        And that includes all the agents. Everyone knew that the players were juiced and they all profited illegally.

      • JBerardi - Jan 1, 2012 at 7:16 PM

        Oh stop. A sport doesn’t stop being a sport just because someone is juicing. I mean, who watched football today?

      • marshmallowsnake - Jan 1, 2012 at 7:38 PM

        I did not. But then again, I do not care for it.

        Now back on task. Stop it? If I get caught cheating at work, I get fired. They make millions. Baseball is a scam. All everyone cared about was the cash flow. They are all guilty.

      • JBerardi - Jan 1, 2012 at 9:56 PM

        “If I get caught cheating at work, I get fired.”

        Because no one besides an athlete ever got suspended from their job before.

  6. theonlynolan - Jan 1, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    People like you, Mike, should prolly just watch one of the clean sports where nobody uses anything to improve their performance. Maybe Croquet or Shuffleboard.

    • JBerardi - Jan 1, 2012 at 9:57 PM

      Do the Amish have a baseball league?

      • jwbiii - Jan 2, 2012 at 12:02 AM

        Have you heard of Floyd Landis?

        Ok, he’s a Mennonite, but close enough.

  7. sdelmonte - Jan 1, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    If I had to say one way or the other, I would say he used, and is probably not doing himself any favors by denying it. We’ve seen that fans are willing to move on once a player confesses.

    That said, though, I find it just a bit arrogant when scientists say “oh, it’s impossible for the test to be wrong.” Science can be wrong, and when it is, blanket statements like this undermine its integrity. Never mind that WADA’s arrogance on a regular basis makes the whole testing system look suspect to me.

    • stercuilus65 - Jan 3, 2012 at 2:58 AM

      They didn’t say impossible they said ““almost impossible”, misrepresenting someone’s statement undermine your integrity.

  8. Brian Donohue - Jan 1, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Guess that leaves a gap in their order that you could fit the Gov. of NJ thru. And someone else formerly of that div. will be busy building a Hollywood mansion instead of defending a crown. Arr ye Buccos, get ye off to a fast start and ye never know…raise the jolly roger.

  9. randomdigits - Jan 1, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Best bet is go the tainted sample route, attack the chain of custody.

  10. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Jan 1, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Best bet for Braun is to simply fess up to it, take the 50 game suspension like a man saying, “Hey, I got caught and won’t do it again” End of story, goodbye HOF (which was a long shot anyway).

    • stercuilus65 - Jan 3, 2012 at 3:00 AM

      Best bet is not to take banned substances and rely on hard work instead of lying and trying to weasel out of your punishment.

  11. mtm1321 - Jan 1, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Good I’m glad he got busted. The test isn’t going to lie, if his levels of testosterone were that high then he had to have taken something to produce that effect. Whether he knew he took something or not to achieve those affects, Its hard to believe he doesn’t know. How could you not know if you took something or not?!?
    I’m happy that MLB isn’t going to slide on this.

  12. jrspike - Jan 1, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    I didn’t have sex with that women. I have no reason to lie, well a little couple of millions but it’s not about the money. Is it Albert.

    • JBerardi - Jan 1, 2012 at 7:19 PM

      Ummm…. what?

    • baseballisboring - Jan 1, 2012 at 10:32 PM

      I think you might be combining like, three different stories…

  13. textexington - Jan 1, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Braun failed the test cuz he is on meds for Herpes.FACT.

    • cur68 - Jan 1, 2012 at 9:04 PM

      WHAT!!…Acyclovir, the principal drug for genital herpes, can be given in a topical lotion. The lotion has the acyclovir suspended in an oil base. That oil base is can be made of SOYBEAN (I think it’s called extrasorb or something like that)…soy is what synthetic steroid is commonly derived from. Enough soy oozing into your system could, I suppose, affect androgen loads and leave enough plant based carbon in your blood stream to screw with BOTH tests used for PED detection (i’m really guessing here, but this is not a bad theory when you look at it like this)…this could be true…he’d need to be using A LOT of acyclovir I suppose, but, depending on the outbreak, maybe he would be…certainly the dose would have to be four or 5 times/day if by lotion: we use it IV but not nearly that frequently (and if it comes to acylovir in neonates, we’re grasping at straws, IMO)
      ..holy crap…where’s our resident pharmacist when you need him? Feeding his Monkey Army their peanuts I suppose…

    • moneymike23 - Jan 2, 2012 at 11:58 PM

      That’s what I heard. I don’t think he would be dumb enough to actually take PED especially right before or during playoffs.

      • stercuilus65 - Jan 3, 2012 at 3:02 AM

        People do dumb things all the time. The fact that it can wash out of the body in 24 hours made the odds pretty slim he get caught but his luck ran out this time..

  14. mojosmagic - Jan 1, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    For once I would love to see a player own up and say I made a mistake.

    • moneymike23 - Jan 4, 2012 at 1:25 AM

      Ummmm.A-Rod.

  15. 27xwschamps - Jan 2, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Jackass !!!

  16. jimsjam33 - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Why hasn’t his MVP award been re-tracted ? Matt Kemp should should get the award and an apology from the league office .

    • PanchoHerreraFanClub - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      His MVP hasn’t been retracted because the baseball writers give out the award. You know the group that fully support the wonderful writer that likes to do things to kids (I know, this is a cheap shot).

      Media types (not just baseball writers), like preachers, are big on the “do as I say, not as do” thing.

      • jimbo1949 - Jan 2, 2012 at 7:38 PM

        you mean the baseball writers that refuse HOF induction for alleged PED users?

  17. Lucas - Jan 2, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    Of course it’s “unlikely” to be overturned. That is about as obvious as “the sky is blue”. I don’t work for MLB, but I could’ve told you this. The fact that no one has had their suspensions overturned shows that it’s “unlikely”.

    The point of the appeals process is that it puts a tremendous amount of onus on Ryan Braun’s camp to prove whatever it is they’re trying to prove. However, until it happens and a judgement is made, the assumption has to be that it’s unlikely. However unlikely, it’s probably not impossible. This is a complete and total non-story.

  18. muskyhunter2542 - Jan 3, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Some people are just so stipid!!!
    Braun was NOT tested positive for a PED!!! It was a banned substance, but NOT a PED

    • neelymessier - Jan 3, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      False. His sample was found to have SYNTHETIC TESTOSTERONE. A banned PED. and no acylovir, which is an antiviral topically applied is going to cause highly elevated levels of synthetic testostorne in urine. The league will suspend him and his defense will never be made public so we can believe our hero.

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