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Ryan Braun’s PED suspension appeal was heard Thursday

Jan 19, 2012, 10:01 PM EDT

braun tall getty Getty Images

Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun finally got his day in court on Thursday afternoon. Here’s the story, from reporters Bill Madden, Andy Martino and Teri Thompson of the New York Daily News:

Ryan Braun, the National League’s Most Valuable Player, pleaded his case Thursday before a three-member panel that will decide whether he faces a 50-game suspension for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone.

The appeal came just two days before Braun will accept his MVP award at the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s dinner Saturday night at the New York Hilton, sources familiar with Braun told the Daily News.

The panel, made up of MLB Players Association executive director Michael Weiner, MLB executive vice president for labor relations Rob Manfred and independent arbitrator Shyam Das, is not expected to reach a decision before Braun accepts his award. But our guess would be that it won’t take more than a week.

Braun is maintaining a cry of innocence, but that early-October PED test showed insanely high levels of synthetic testosterone in his bloodstream and you have to wonder how he could possibly attempt to prove that it wasn’t ever there. Calling the test result a false-positive isn’t going to cut it, and arguing that something non performance-enhancing triggered the positive reading would require a whole lot of convincing.

  1. neelymessier - Jan 19, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    MLB policy is 50 game suspension for 1st positive test. False positives are irrelevant when the sample is split into parts and sent to multiple labs. There is no “unless clause”. Doesn’t matter how it got there. Love Braun but he’ll be copping a squat for 50 games.

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 20, 2012 at 8:42 AM

      He’ll get it lowered to 25 more than likely. It’ll come with a public apology of course. What better stage then when he accepts his MVP and gets all choked up right?

      • 78mu - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:18 AM

        Isn’t that like saying he’s a little bit pregnant? Either he did it or he didn’t. If he did he gets 50 games. If he didn’t he gets no suspension and deserves an apology.

      • phillyphreak - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:19 AM

        Wait you can’t be a little bit pregnant? Damn money grubbing …..I mean…

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:28 AM

        Manny’s second suspension was cut in half. JC Romero was offered to serve a 25 day suspension if he issued a public apology. He refused and had to do the 50. I expect Braun, because he’s an MLB golden boy to be offered a similar arrangement. He’s got some sort of “reason” why his levels were elevated, just like JC had, so why not?

      • paperlions - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:33 AM

        But offering apologies is a tacit admission of guilt and intent to cheat, it doesn’t seem likely that Braun would do such a thing, even if he did something worthy of apology.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:52 AM

        25 additional games will not make the season any easier on the Brewers PL. I’ve been thinking this over as well and I think he may just go for the apology to get back in the game 25 games sooner. That much time will throw a person off his game pretty good and Braun has to be thinking it too. Well we’ll see if I’m right or wrong about it soon enough.

  2. plowe70 - Jan 19, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    Lyin Braun should just give it up and give KeMVP his award.

  3. andyreidisfat - Jan 19, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    Ehhh who cares. Does anyone really believe theSe guys arn’t juicing any more ? I mean the morons who ride bikes up mountains have crazy good testing policies and always get caught yet they still do it.

    I say f it and let them dope of they want to, but they also have to agree to show the world their shriveled ball sack and acne ridden backs. They should also be telling folks in Psas and such that roids will kill people and they are taking a calculated risk. That way people will know truth instead of lies and I think that would do more to curb use than anything else

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 20, 2012 at 8:47 AM

      Ok, first I thought of how terrible of an idea this was until I read further and realized it was a joke. And it’s actually kinda funny. (golf clap)

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:15 AM

      Remember super Mario brothers? Sure. Just last week I was playing it with my son. I prefer Mario Kart myself though.. Super smash brothers brawl is another good one.

    • phillyphreak - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM

      Now I need to guy buy a Nintendo…..

    • Jonny 5 - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:29 AM

      Road Rash!

    • modman11957 - Jan 21, 2012 at 9:14 AM

      Rlb ,bring back bonds etc. juice em ball.pitchers and catchers report soon.clemens loosen that old roid arm up.

  4. buffalomafia - Jan 20, 2012 at 2:28 AM

    Either Braun was juicing or maybe he was using a supplement from a health store that elevated his testosterone levels? Sometimes when you take a supplement it does weird things to your body.

    Bobby Valentine said on an ESPN baseball show last year that eventualy players could get PED’s from a health store legally because people who are making that stuff are trying to beat the system every day?!

    • istillbelieveinblue - Jan 20, 2012 at 7:40 AM

      The “insanely” high level of testosterone in his system couldn’t have possibly come from an over-the-counter supplement.

    • dwrek5 - Jan 20, 2012 at 8:06 AM

      Bill James has made similar references, saying everyone will be on PED’s in 50 years, not just athletes.

      • stex52 - Jan 20, 2012 at 8:48 AM

        We can’t be surprised. How many drugs, vitamins, supplements, mood enhancers’ etc. are we all on now to make ourselves happier and healthier? I promise you it would be hard to find someone over the age of 40 who isn’t doing something to enhance themselves. And I have a feeling that age is too high, the threshhold is lower. What the athletes are doing is an extension of what we as a society do.

      • paperlions - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:33 AM

        I take a chewable vitamin C (tropical flavor) and a Vitamin D3 gel cap every morning…I’m sure I’d be an emotional wreck without them.

      • stex52 - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:05 AM

        I’m probably a bit older than you, but it takes a lot more than that (blood pressure, asthma, etd.) to get me going in the morning. And mostly it’s good stuff. I’ve already outlived my father and grandfather. But if we see a way to enhance ourselves we will. Athletes, with their livelihood at stake, have even more of an incentive.

        I’m not sure what the answer is.

    • kcfanatic - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      I don’t know that I would be holding much information from Bobby Valentine as fact. He tends to come off a little…

  5. ameliasmith9 - Jan 20, 2012 at 5:32 AM

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  6. bucky370 - Jan 20, 2012 at 6:41 AM

    Nice Title Hardballtalk. Just like ESPN, mis-stating the facts. Braun is not in trouble for PED’s, he’s in trouble for a banned substance. These are very different allegations although both not good. It’s been stated in many places his doctor prescribed him something for a medical condition. They were just stupid not to confer with MLB what he was taking. We all know the rumors out their what his medical condition was….right. No, not nationally because they want to sail him down the river. Please adjust your title and article to what the details are!!!

    • paperlions - Jan 20, 2012 at 7:26 AM

      So….every report that it was for testosterone is inaccurate? Because…you know….testosterone is classified as a PED, being the most fundamental anabolic steroid and all.

      • paperlions - Jan 20, 2012 at 7:39 AM

        In addition, the only substances that get an automatic 50 game suspension for 1st violations, are PEDs, drugs of abuse and stimulants draw shorter suspensions.

      • bucky370 - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:31 AM

        Here is your link……

        He’s in trouble for a “Banned Substance”, very different from PED

      • paperlions - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:41 AM

        First, PEDs are a kind of banned substance. There are pretty much only 3 types of banned substances in MLB: PEDs, stimulants, drugs of abuse. That’s it. If you take something that causes you body to produce astronomical levels of testosterone, that is considered to be a PED. It seems fairly hard to take such things by accident, it isn’t as if there are dozens of players in any league testing positive despite the majority taking all kinds of supplements. I guess we’ll find out when Braun tells his side of what happened.

    • yettyskills - Jan 20, 2012 at 4:57 PM

      Having massively high levels of testosterone isn’t performance enhancing?


      • bucky370 - Jan 22, 2012 at 9:04 AM

        No question a PED is a form of a banned substance. Did you ever have a sinus infection and take a Z pak? All that is, is an insane amount of sterioids. Steroids are in way more substances than you or I want to believe today. It’s been reported in many outlets that Braun was prescribed something for a very recent medical condition at the time. We all know the rumors what that condition was, and it is very possible what was prescribed was steroid loaded. I’ve stated it before, the fault was that with the multi million’s of dollars at hand, that they were so stupid not to clear this with MLB. At least we understand it that way. The recent reports also collaborate and agree that Braun is not on what most of us understand to be PED”s, which are taken on a daily basis. His testosterone levels wouldn’t have been so insanly high with taken ped’s. For instance when you take a Z pak, the first day you take multiple pills, that definetely could create very high levels.

  7. deep64blue - Jan 20, 2012 at 7:54 AM

    The levels were so insanely high he would be dead if they were real! Good chance of winning the appeal if they look at the facts.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Jan 20, 2012 at 8:41 AM

      I would take the word of a professional over your arm chair diagnosis.

  8. Walk - Jan 20, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    Insanely high levels.. first thing i though of was a tainted sample. I feel bad for baseball and the Brewers if it is true.

  9. psousa1 - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Oh yes more than half the stuff you will find at gnc would make you fail a drug test – easy. The proteins, creatines, even the so called vitamin supplements would all make you fail an MLB, NFL, NHL or NBA drug test. Most of those supplements you buy there work for a reason.

    That is why I am always skeptical when I hear about a guy like Shawn Merriman or David Ortiz or any athlete who tests positive for nandrolone. That is bought over the counter at these supplement chains. It escapes me right now but I have read how they can legally put it in their supplements (it has to do with being derived from a natural root that is grown legally (unlike a pot plant or something)or something like that. But that doesn’t leave the player off the hook. They know they can’t walk into one of these stores or buy something at their gym in the off season and just take it. They have a list of supplements they cannot use and the can cross reference them.

    Just not every guy who tests positive is in the back room of a gym or in their bedroom getting shot up.

    • paperlions - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      Yet, thousands of athletes (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, minor leagues, every college athlete…..think about how many that is….tens of thousands just for football) take supplements, a large percentage of which are the kinds of things GNC (and other such places sell) and very few ever fail a drug test.

    • modman11957 - Jan 21, 2012 at 9:17 AM

      It doesn’t matter where it came frome. Players are responsible for what goes in their bodies

  10. muskyhunter2542 - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:54 AM


    • stercuilus65 - Jan 20, 2012 at 4:51 PM

      Only in roid levels.

  11. brewcrewfan54 - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Braun didn’t use steroids, steroids used him.

    • modman11957 - Jan 21, 2012 at 9:22 AM

      Mutual users,roids used him ,he used roids. One endless user daisy chain.

  12. paperlions - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Even as a Cardinal fan, I am hoping that it does turn out to be some issue that results in him winning the appeal…..if for no other reason, just so various media outlets will STFU about it….otherwise, we’ll have to hear about this crap for at least the next decade. Nobody wants that.

  13. badmamainphilliesjamas - Jan 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    It will be interesting if, in 10, 20, 30 years, the science will exist to determine conclusively what (if any) substances actually “enhance” performance.

  14. papacrick - Jan 20, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Juicing is worth the risk imo.. You’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars in salary difference.. You get away with it for one season and some dumb team will throw you enough money to support three generations of your family. Or you be toiling in the minors and scraping by on 50k a year and have no career plan b to fall back on when you inevitably get cut. I’ll go with being a multi millionaire with a shredded physique and never ending sex drive. Sign me up!

    • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 20, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      I agree. Until they start taking away the money you’ve already made it will always be worth the chance.

  15. plowe70 - Jan 20, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    I’m sorry. Anyone saying let them all juice up is stupid. You want kids to start doing that? Because thats what will happen. No way is that acceptable to me.

  16. hammyofdoom - Jan 20, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    The one thing that bothers me about people testing “positive” is that the public kind of generally assume they tested positive for steroids. Lord knows how many products are actually banned by MLB, but my guess is most aren’t steroids. I do have to wonder here, what the hell could Braun take that would give him record high testosterone, yet would be gone almost immediately? If there ever IS a false positive, I bet it’d sound like that.

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