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. Josh Reddick perplexed by the Josh Donaldson trade

    Nov 28, 2014, 11:30 PM EST

    josh reddick getty Getty Images

    The Josh Donaldson trade puzzled his now ex-teammate Josh Reddick.

  2. Athletics designate Kyle Blanks and Josh Lindblom for assignment

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:34 PM EST

    Mike Gallego, Kyle Blanks Mike Gallego, Kyle Blanks

    The A’s cleared some space on their roster following the Josh Donaldson trade by designating Kyle Blanks and Josh Lindblom for assignment.

  3. Blue Jays acquire Josh Donaldson in a trade with the Athletics

    Nov 28, 2014, 9:57 PM EST

    josh donaldson getty Getty Images

    Brett Lawrie and a couple of minor leaguers are headed to the Athletics in exchange for Josh Donaldson.

  4. Report: Athletics working on a trade

    Nov 28, 2014, 8:44 PM EST

    Josh Donaldson Josh Donaldson

    The Athletics are reportedly close to getting three or four players back in a trade involving starter Jeff Samardzija.

  5. Aaron Crow could get a chance to start for the Marlins

    Nov 28, 2014, 8:15 PM EST

    Aaron Crow Getty Images

    Marlins pitcher Aaron Crow, recently acquired from the Royals, could get a shot in the starting rotation.

  6. Report: Ross Detwiler’s camp has suggested the Nationals trade him, if possible

    Nov 28, 2014, 7:10 PM EST

    Washington Nationals starter Ross Detwiler throws a first inning pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers during their MLB National League baseball game in Los Angeles Reuters

    Ross Detwiler had a frustrating 2014 season with the Nationals. It sounds like he wants a change of scenery, if possible.

  7. White Sox sign Tony Campana to a minor league deal

    Nov 28, 2014, 6:05 PM EST

    Tony Campana Getty Images

    The White Sox signed speedster Tony Campana to a minor league deal.

  8. Jamie Moyer leaves the Phillies’ broadcasting team

    Nov 28, 2014, 4:42 PM EST

    Jamie Moyer

    It’s one and done in the booth for the old lefty.

  9. Marlins acquire Aaron Crow from Royals

    Nov 28, 2014, 12:23 PM EST

    Aaron Crow AP

    Crow made the All-Star team as a rookie in 2011.

  10. Shane Victorino says he should be the Red Sox’ starting right fielder

    Nov 28, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

    Shane Victorino Getty Getty Images

    And he’d like you to tell him who’s a better option.

  11. Pedro Strop was involved in an accident in the Dominican Republic

    Nov 28, 2014, 11:00 AM EST

    Chicago Cubs v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

    He’s reportedly uninjured, though details are scarce at the moment.

  12. Royals re-sign Jason Frasor for $1.8 million

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:47 AM EST

    Houston Astros v Texas Rangers Getty Images

    Barring some trades he’ll fill a middle relief role for the bullpen-rich Royals in 2015.

  13. Not so fast on the Cardinals’ reported interest in Jon Lester

    Nov 28, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    Jon Lester AP

    “Their interest in the lefty appears as much opportunistic as enthusiastic.”

  14. A.J. Hinch likes horrible and awful things for Thanksgiving dinner

    Nov 28, 2014, 8:15 AM EST

    Jell-O salad

    Won’t somebody think of A.J. Hinch’s children?

  15. Justin Masterson is all over the AL Central radar

    Nov 27, 2014, 9:20 PM EST

    masterson getty Getty Images

    The AL Central seems to be particularly fond of free agent pitcher Justin Masterson.

  16. Padres drawing a lot of interest in their catchers

    Nov 27, 2014, 8:15 PM EST

    Rene Rivera Rene Rivera

    The Padres have three worthy catchers and all of them are drawing trade interest.

  17. Billy Butler takes out a full-page newspaper ad to thank Royals fans

    Nov 27, 2014, 7:10 PM EST

    New York Yankees v Kansas City Royals Getty Images

    Billy Butler, now with the Athletics, thanked Royals fans for an “amazing ride” in Kansas City.

  18. Brandon Moss, Allen Craig on Marlins’ first base radar

    Nov 27, 2014, 6:05 PM EST

    Brandon Moss AP

    A couple more options have appeared on the Marlins’ radar for an upgrade at first base.

Featured video

Maddon has high hopes for Cubs
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Ramirez (4396)
  2. P. Sandoval (4238)
  3. Y. Tomas (3691)
  4. J. Lester (3066)
  5. C. Headley (2876)
  1. Y. Cespedes (2366)
  2. M. Kemp (1907)
  3. C. Hamels (1752)
  4. M. Scherzer (1647)
  5. C. Davis (1540)