Skip to content

Ryan Braun got off on a “technicality?” Bull!

Feb 23, 2012, 6:59 PM EST

ryan braun wide getty Getty Images

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.

Latest Posts
  1. The Rakuten Golden Eagles had an interesting Twitter introduction for Zelous Wheeler

    Jan 30, 2015, 7:23 AM EST

    Zelous Wheeler Yankees Getty Images

    I’ve heard of teams insulting players after they left, but never at their introductory press conference.

  2. Rays have private workout with Yoan Moncada

    Jan 29, 2015, 10:50 PM EST

    cuba hat

    High-spending teams like the Yankees and Red Sox are among the favorites to sign Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada, but the Rays are also interested even if it’s fair to call them a long shot.

  3. Brandon Beachy won’t sign until closer to spring training

    Jan 29, 2015, 9:21 PM EST

    brandon beachy getty Getty Images

    Beachy is currently 10 months removed from the second Tommy John surgery of his career.

  4. Neal Cotts has agreed to a one-year deal with the Brewers

    Jan 29, 2015, 8:02 PM EST

    Neal Cotts AP AP

    Cotts compiled a 2.84 ERA in 131 appearances with the Rangers over the past two seasons.

  5. Phillies sign Chad Billingsley

    Jan 29, 2015, 7:04 PM EST

    Chad Billingsley Getty Images

    Billingsley hasn’t pitched in the majors since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April of 2013.

  6. Braves sign Eric Stults

    Jan 29, 2015, 6:45 PM EST

    Eric Stults Getty Getty Images

    Add another name to the list of fifth starter candidates for the Braves.

  7. Daniel Nava avoids arbitration with the Red Sox

    Jan 29, 2015, 5:42 PM EST

    ALCS - Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox - Game One Getty Images

    Nava requested $2.25 million and the Red Sox countered at $1.3 million.

  8. Ramon Santiago signs with the Blue Jays

    Jan 29, 2015, 3:15 PM EST

    Ramon Santiago AP

    Santiago spent last season with the Reds, hitting .246 with a .667 OPS in 75 games.

  9. Blue Jays sign Ronald Belisario

    Jan 29, 2015, 2:31 PM EST

    Ronald Belisario AP

    Belisario was awful for the White Sox last season, allowing 46 runs in 66 innings.

  10. Pete Carroll and Scott Boras are best buddies? Who knew?

    Jan 29, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    Boras sulking AP

    Does this man look like he’d be a friend of a guy like Pete Carroll? Welp, he is.

  11. Omar Minaya is joining the MLB Players Association

    Jan 29, 2015, 12:45 PM EST

    Omar Minaya AP

    He’ll work with union chief Tony Clark.

  12. Jayson Werth to serve five days in jail for reckless driving

    Jan 29, 2015, 12:30 PM EST

    Jayson Werth AP

    We can, from now and forever, refer to Werth as the “The Nationals’ ex-con right fielder.”

  13. The 12th greatest GM of all time is the real “Moneyball” innovator, not Billy Beane

    Jan 29, 2015, 11:30 AM EST

    Sandy Alderson AP

    Brad Pitt was too young to portray him, though. Maybe Kevin Kline could’ve?

  14. Keith Law’s top 100 prospects list is out

    Jan 29, 2015, 10:39 AM EST

    Kris Bryant AP AP

    Kris Bryant of the Cubs tops the list.

  15. Blue Jays are on the hunt for veteran relievers

    Jan 29, 2015, 10:15 AM EST

    Francisco Rodriguez AP AP

    Francisco Rodriguez? Rafael Soriano?

  16. Rosenthal proposal: make relievers face more than one batter per appearance

    Jan 29, 2015, 10:01 AM EST

    Mike Pelfrey

    He’s gonna get big pushback from the LOOGY union, but is the idea a good one?

  17. Must baseball “change or die?”

    Jan 29, 2015, 9:09 AM EST

    dodgers shift

    Baseball should never fear innovation. But not all new rules are, by definition, innovation.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Papelbon (5590)
  2. Y. Moncada (3621)
  3. I. Suzuki (3473)
  4. F. Rodriguez (3450)
  5. J. Shields (3289)