Feb 23, 2012, 6:59 PM EDT
In almost all cases, the people who say that someone “got off on a technicality” or took advantage of a “loophole” really mean “I think the SOB was guilty and because of that I don’t care if the proper safeguards and protocols were followed!” It’s a ridiculous stance.
Ridiculous because procedures such as chain of custody and the proper handling of samples — which were not followed in Braun’s case — exist for a reason. That reason is not, contrary to popular grunting, to make it harder for decent prosecutors or authorities to do their jobs. It’s to ensure the integrity of the system. And, in this case, the integrity of the sample. Every detail that is not adhered to presents another opportunity for a sample to be tainted, lost or otherwise compromised. When that happens the test itself is, by definition, unreliable and any reference to what it may or may not have shown is utterly beside the point.
And while that, in this case, may work to Braun’s benefit, in the long run adherence to those procedures is critical to the integrity and efficacy of the drug testing process. And that’s far more important than whatever this means for one man’s drug test.
The response I expect to that is “well, just because procedures weren’t followed doesn’t mean that Braun didn’t take something!” My response: you’re right. We don’t know that. And we can’t know that, because the testing program is not nor can it reasonably be expected to be one that decides absolute guilt or absolute innocence. In this it’s just like the criminal justice system which never determines actual innocence. It determines the lack of guilt. It does this because the burden is on the accuser and not the accused, same as with the drug testing procedure.
Except in the drug testing world the burden is way, way lower than “beyond a reasonable doubt.” All MLB has to do is take a sample and test it properly, while adhering to a relatively simple set of procedures. If MLB, in this case, could not be bothered to do even that, then neither it nor anyone else has cause to label Ryan Braun a drug user.
Ryan Braun got off on a technicality? Bull. Major League Baseball half-assed it and failed to adhere to the standards it set up for itself. In that case I have no problem considering Braun to be the less culpable party. Anyone who says otherwise is more interested in assumptions and the casting of aspersions than they are in a rigorous and legitimate drug testing regime.
- Jordan Walden lands on disabled list with biceps injury 6
- Rays place outfielder Desmond Jennings on 15-day disabled list with bursitis in his left knee 0
- Settling the Score: Saturday’s results 29
- Torii Hunter doesn’t care what Floyd Mayweather has done outside of the boxing ring 115
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman acknowledges team won’t pay A-Rod $6 million bonus for 660th home run 69
- Willie Mays congratulates Alex Rodriguez for reaching 660 career home runs 31
- Settling the Score: Friday’s results 38
- Ryan Hanigan needs surgery, so the Red Sox will call up prospect Blake Swihart 15
- Pitchers batting is dumb and the DH should be universal (362)
- Comment of the Day: do not underestimate the seriousness of the anti-DH crowd (201)
- Monday’s White Sox/Orioles game postponed due to ongoing protests and violence in Baltimore (162)
- Protesters converge on Oriole Park at Camden Yards (149)
- The Orioles will play to no fans tomorrow; this weekend’s series will move to Tropicana Field (125)