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Ryan Braun wins the appeal of his drug suspension

Feb 23, 2012, 5:22 PM EDT

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Huge news:  As first reported by Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Ryan Braun has won the appeal of his 50-game suspension for taking a banned substance.  The MLBPA has confirmed.  Braun is the first player to successfully appeal a drug suspension.

Immediately after this news broke, Major League Baseball released a statement, printed in full below, saying that while they “vehemently disagree” with the arbitrator’s decision, it will respect the process.

To which I say: How freaking noble of you to respect the process, Major League Baseball.  And to all of the writers who, in the wake of the leak of Braun’s positive test, demanded that he either give up his MVP award or have it put up to a re-vote, I suppose you should probably revisit that view in light of the appeal.  You know, now that the process has actually run its course and there is a determination you can assess rather than an unauthorized leak to which you can react.

As for Braun and the Brewers: nothing but good news here.  From staring a 50-game suspension in the face to reporting to camp tomorrow as if nothing had happened.  Which, if the integrity of the testing and the appeal process had been respected like it had been in all other cases, would have been totally unremarkable.

Here’s Major League Baseball’s statement:

“Major League Baseball considers the obligations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program essential to the integrity of our game, our Clubs and all of the players who take the field.  It has always been Major League Baseball’s position that no matter who tests positive, we will exhaust all avenues in pursuit of the appropriate discipline.  We have been true to that position in every instance, because baseball fans deserve nothing less.

“As a part of our drug testing program, the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association agreed to a neutral third party review for instances that are under dispute.  While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”

We have more coverage of the Braun decision:

See why Braun won his appeal. Hint: it involves a urine sample, a closed Kinko’s and some guy’s refrigerator; and

For anyone who thinks Braun got off on a technicality, well, they have another thing coming.

128 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Kyle - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    To all the knee-jerk moralizers from months ago: Hahahaha

    • brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:20 PM

      HaHaHa???? What are you 12? He got off on a technicality. Read the report. He cheated and got away with it, end of story. Baseball players try to cheat everyday in every way corked bats, stealing signs, cutting baseballs, spit balls etc, etc.

      • gendisarray - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:30 PM

        That kind of judgment seems a bit premature. Will Carroll is saying that while the “technicality” you brought up was part of Braun’s defense, he won the case based on the scientific evidence that was presented. Don’t let the facts get in the way of your version of the truth, though.

        http://twitter.com/#!/injuryexpert

      • donniebb23 - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:33 PM

        End of story? Damn brokea$$ talk about knee-jerk moralizers. Truth is you don’t have any more of a clue about the circumstances behind it than anybody else. From all I’ve read about this story from the beginning, “technicality” more likely refers Braun’s test itself being tainted (given the absurd amount of testosterone in his system) than something stupid like a lab tech mislabeling the vile.

      • brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:49 PM

        I could care less if he cheated. I am not judging him at all.

      • badben31 - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM

        Yes you are judging him by stating he was guilty because he got away on a technicality.

        He won his appeal because evidently, they found the results of the test to be unreliable.

        Stand behind what you say or just don’t make statements before you think them through.

    • pjmarn6 - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:26 PM

      If the sample had been immediately shipped and the results were the same then what would you have said?

      All these nuts who said that the sample was tampered deserve to pay his multimillion dollar salary and enjoy the fact that the person who injected him messed up. I still haven’t seen the results of the analysis that were sky high!

      • pjmarn6 - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:41 PM

        DAMN I did a search on the net and could not find the actual test results anyplace. I want to see the numbers and the scientific names of the chemicals found and I want to make up my own mind after I do the research. I don’t want some half asses who have definite agendas to tell me how and what to think.

        The president of NBC is boasting that he is definitely swaying American Opinion by putting a “progressive bent” (LIBERAL BIAS) on all his news and programming. That includes msnbc and msnbc.com. In this case I DEMAND TO SEE THE RESULTS AND FUCK those who said the decision was made. You can follow the crowd, I want to see the numbers and names and don’t fall in with the conspiracy crowd.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 23, 2012 at 8:33 PM

        I want…I want…I want…

        And I want a night alone with Lucy Pinder and Michelle Marsh, but we don’t always get what we want.

    • lostsok - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:56 PM

      Yeah, hahahaha indeed. Wonder if that’s what he’ll be saying when he gets booed in every road park he visits. Hahahaha. Everyone hates me. Hahaha, hey think I’m a cheater. Hahaha, my entire reputation is tarnished.

      Hahaha.

  2. illegalblues - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    MLB’s must be really into their phone psychic if they don’t agree with this….

  3. dondada10 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Wow. Good for you, Braun. MVP.

  4. brewcitybummer - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Cue the its a Selig conspiracy talk in 3…..2…..1….GO!

    • manifunk - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:35 PM

      Which would be patently stupid, considering how the MLB ruled against Braun.

      • brewcitybummer - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:39 PM

        The internet is where stupid lives

    • comeonnowguys - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:38 PM

      How nice of you to start it for us.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:48 PM

      Hahaha! I hear you Brew City. Selig conspiracy and/or he got off cause’ he is caucasian.
      Bunch of racist bigots I tell you. Racist!

  5. Brian Murphy - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Let loose hundreds of “Is the System Broken?” columns.

  6. nightman13 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Dear haters-

    I hope you washed your feet recently now that one of them is firmly entrenched in your mouths.

    • 4d3fect - Feb 23, 2012 at 8:00 PM

      They only open their mouths to change feet anyway.

  7. hammyofdoom - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Well hot damn this IS huge news. Congrats to Braun and fuck you MLB for how you treated this whole thing. Between how the news got out that he tested positive, to how he had a “personal issue” that may get this whole thing overturned, to publicly disagreeing with the third party arbitrator who I can only assume has no horse in this race, MLB has looked incredibly petty and unprofessional throughout this whole thing.

  8. danrizzle - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    I really really wish that a legal opinion would be authored by the board of arbitrators on this. I would love to hear the argument and the failures of proof about the testing method and the results of the test.

    • Old Gator - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:57 PM

      So would I. I’m very curious about exactly what happened – what he tested positive for, what the mitigating circumstances were, and why the arbitrator ruled in his favor.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:50 PM

        Obviously, since he passed every other test and this sample was not accounted for for a couple of days, Braun was the victim of some purposeful tainting of this sample and he has never taken any banned substance ever. He also shits ice cream and bleeds holy water. Don’t you guys read the other comments around here??? Who needs legality and logic? The sample was unaccounted for two whole days…it was clearly tampered with. Geeze!!!

      • danrizzle - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:42 PM

        Geez Chris.. a 50 game suspension would have cost Braun more than $2 million. I would certainly hope that a urine sample that could cost somebody $2 million would not go unaccounted for.

    • hammyofdoom - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:24 PM

      I thought this as well. I’d really like to know what exactly happened as to why this got overturned.

  9. cur68 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    YES! Excellent news for Braun. Whole thing, with the leaked tests, the rumors, the medical disclosures just smacked of smear job. I’m glad he beat the rap, even if he was guilty as sin: he deserved the exact same hearing that everyone else got, not this public farce he’s been put through. Maybe MLB can invest some of that “vehemence” in finding, firing and prosecuting that blabbermouth in their ranks who spilled their guts to the press. That idiot deserves to have their name dragged through the mud.

  10. Jack Marshall - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    So Craig—does this mean Braun is Baseball OJ, innocent in the eyes of the law, but really guilty in the eyes of everyone else? Or is he Dr. Richard Kimball?

    • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:55 PM

      OJ

  11. airnrodgers - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Congrats to Braun the real MVP, I knew he didn’t cheat. Haha to all the haters still mad that kemp didn’t win

  12. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    I hope this ruling is justifiable, in that he took nothing to directly impact his performance. That’s all I can hope for.

    If this is a rightful ruling, this is great for MLB, Braun and the Brewers alike. We didn’t want to believe Braun is an ugly cheater, the Brewers didn’t want to lose him and worry that their 9-year investment they still have with him wasn’t based on falsehoods, and I hope Braun goes to MLB the next time he takes something, to be extra, extra cautious and correct in his way of business.

    Don’t ever break the rules again, Ryan. Though we weren’t supposed to find out about your shenanigans in the first place, when it came out, we all certainly hope you take the right paths from now on. Cheating is never worth it.

  13. racksie - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Hmmm. Curious. What motive could MLB, and The Brewers, and Braun have in this result? Well, it turned out exactly as it should have. If you are MLB, The Brewers, and Braun. So I’m sure it’s legitimate.

    • manifunk - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:37 PM

      Actually the MLB voted against Braun and has loudly decried the ruling. So no, this did not turn out “as exactly as it should have [sic]“. MLB looks angry, the drug testing process is under the microscope, and Braun is forever tainted (wrongfully, imho) by people will cling to the “technicality” argument.

      • racksie - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:02 PM

        by people will [sic] cling to the “technicality” argument. Hope that helps.

      • manifunk - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:04 PM

        nooooooooooo hoisted by my own petard!

      • racksie - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:24 PM

        I stand corrected.

    • dsmaxsucks - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:38 PM

      Why don’t you tell everyone about your superior access to all the evidence in the case, and all your legal and medical training, and how you were on the grassy knoll in ’63. You should really go home and berate your mother for raising you to believe that ignorance is bliss was meant to be taken literally.

      • racksie - Feb 29, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        Because that would be an obvious breach of protocol.

  14. mrfloydpink - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    But Jeff Bagwell is still a ‘roider, right? And Ken Griffey isn’t? And Piazza is? And Thomas isn’t? Sorry, I have trouble keeping track of which accusations require evidence and which ones do not…

  15. snowbirdgothic - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    And this, folks, is why we have due process. Despite all the leaks, despite all the spin and the bullcrap, this is how it’s supposed to play out – with deliberation of the evidence and everyone abiding by the decision, even if they get off one last sour grapes salvo in the media.

    There will be, of course, those who will always be convinced Braun cheated, and this decision will mean nothing to them. Several of those folks, I suspect, are members of the BBWA. It doesn’t matter, except in the sheer amount of raw fodder it’s likely to generate for future posts.

  16. sasquash20 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    I dogged Braun as a cheater so I guess I have to go with conspiracy cover up by Bud. Just kidding. I was dead wrong as it stands now with Braun winning his appeal. I was a moron in dogging him and his faithful following.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:15 PM

      +1 to you sir

  17. chris6523 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Sports illustrated must have been expecting it to go the other way. The caption under his picture that accompanied the article there originally stated “Braun will not be eligible to play until late May.”

    But I agree completely with Craig here. There are a couple thousand douche bags that should be eating a healthy serving of STFU right about now. That pompous ass Bob “I love baseball more than anyone because I’m such a purist” Costas is first on my list.

  18. notacelticsfan - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Herpes medicine.

  19. El Bravo - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    Oh to be a fly on the wall at the arbitration hearings….

    Man, this is quite literally unprecendented so this will undoubtedly lead to other appeals down the road with interesting new twists and reasons for false positives. Meanwhile MLB needs to figure out what they’re doing wrong and fix it, not whine about losing a fair fight.

    • cur68 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:40 PM

      MLB needs to not take a “yes/no” view as their sole stance is what, IMO. There are situations where a positive test can come back without performance enhancing being the issue. I think that’s what happened here.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:18 PM

      Number 1 is that they stop listening to WADA. Those guys are jokers, Euro-style.

  20. Chris Fiorentino - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    “the appeal went Braun’s way not so much on contesting the result of the test but the testing process itself, some kind of technicality”

    Congrats to Braun on showing every other player how to cheat and get away with it. Nobody denies he took a banned substance here. Just that He wins on a technicality. Lol. I won’t eat a bit of crow. He took a banned substance and got away with it. Doesn’t mean People who said he cheated were wrong.

    • manifunk - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:42 PM

      So let’s follow your logic here.

      The only proof of Braun taking a steroid was misshandled and improperly tested. Ergo, that sample cannot be confirmed. Ergo, there is no definitive proof that Braun took a steroid. Shit. BUT, I am a Cardinals fan, ergo logic has no bearing, ergo BRAUN IS DIRTY.

      Nice.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:48 PM

        You stupid douchebag. I’m not a cardinals fan. Jesus Christ at least get it right if you want to be a dick. The fact is he failed a test and won on a technicality. How many others will claim the same thing and point to this as their proof?? I said congrats to Mr Braun. Iant that enough for you moronic Brewers worshippers??

      • manifunk - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:52 PM

        Actually the fact is that the sample was left unattended for 2 day, at which time the it could have been tampered with/contaminated/who knows what. So the results of that sample, positive or no, are disqualified. So there is no proof that he cheated.

        But you don’t seem to be one for understanding “facts” anyways, so I’m probably just wasting my time here.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:54 PM

        He failed the test. Period. That’s the fact jack!!!

      • manifunk - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:56 PM

        Unfortunately there is no valid proof of that. Of the 24 drug tests that Braun has undergone that were treated properly by the MLB, he has failed none. There is no drug test out there that, after proper testing, he failed.

      • phillyphreak - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:00 PM

        Chris chill out man. You’re channeling your inner cepts’ Take a deep breath and go read about the Phillies!

      • koufaxmitzvah - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:22 PM

        I don’t know what’s funnier: the response to being considered a Cardinals fan, or the insistence that your abject hatred actually carries credence.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:46 PM

        I don’t know what more can be said. I am sorry. Obviously since the test was failed somebody must have tainted it. How silly of me to think any other way. My apologies to Ryan Braun and all of the sycophants of HBT who lap up the BS strewn around here.

      • manifunk - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:20 PM

        So we have 24 tests which he passed, which were all tested correctly and following the guidelines. And then we have 1 where the pee sat in some dude’s fridge for 2 days and was possibly contaminated (I don’t think it was ever maliciously tainted or anything). Regardless of the outcome the test should be thrown out and be re-tested. Braun was re-tested, came back clean. Seems pretty simple. There is simply no logical argument you can make which makes Braun guilty.

    • nightman13 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:54 PM

      Let’s also completely disregard the fact that he’s never tested positive before…or just a week after the “positive” test.

      If an independent and professional arbitrator felt he cheated he would have been suspended.

    • foreverchipper10 - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      Chris,

      It cannot be left alone or else it will be ruled invalid. If you took a test for a class and what you turned in was left alone for two days anyone could go in and change your answers. So if that happened, and you got a zero on the test that must prove beyond any doubt that you are in fact, a dumbass and should therefore be treated like one the rest of your life because hey, you failed the test and that is fact!

      • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        Yes, but you are forgetting that the sample was still sealed when it arrived in Montreal. Basically, what you are saying is that someone tainted the sample. You are being a conspiracy theorist. No problem. I disagree but that’s why they have vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Neither side is wrong or right. What gets me is Craig’s indignant way of telling me that I don’t care about drug testing because I don’t believe the sample was tainted.

  21. yankeesgameday - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Go Canes!

  22. saints97 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    I think some people are having trouble with the difference between not guilty and innocent. OJ Simpson was not guilty, too. To my knowledge, Braun would have been guilty under every other drug testing system in sports. But baseball has a strong union, and Mr. Braun will get to play his games. Good for him, but he still tested positive.

    • meteor32 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      To your knowledge? Unless you were directly involved in process, your knowledge is a leaked report to ESPN whose details can’t be substantiated. There is no way of knowing he would have been found guilty in other systems without all the details.

      • saints97 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:55 PM

        Because other leagues are full of pompous idiots. Other leagues take testing seriously. MLB does not. That is a simple fact, and it is the reason that they were the last major sports league to adopt testing. They don’t care about it. If they did, they wouldn’t put incompetent boobs in charge of the samples.

      • saints97 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:55 PM

        Sorry, because other leagues are NOT full of…

      • meteor32 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:59 PM

        If the people running MLB’s drug testing are “incompetent boobs”, why should we not be willing to believe that is innocent and the “incompetent boobs” screwed up his test resulting in a false positive?

  23. paperlions - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    So….MLB isn’t interesting in fairness? Do they just want to punish anyone and everyone they can to give the appearance that the testing program can catch and punish “cheaters”?

  24. drunkenhooliganism - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    “Immediately after this news broke, Major League Baseball released a statement, printed in full below, saying that while they “vehemently disagree” with the arbitrator’s decision, it will respect the process.”

    That is such complete bullshit. MLB should be thrilled that he won this case. They should put out a press release saying how this is proof that the appeals system works and apologize for leaking a false positive.

    Or they could just continue to vilify the very product that makes them billions.

    • brewcitybummer - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:53 PM

      Well, that does seem to be the prevailing logic of the pro sports leagues. Around this time last year, before the NFL lockout started, the NFL released a statement that basically implied that they were getting screwed by their criminal players getting guaranteed contracts.

      The fact that they have the least guaranteed contracts and most healthy balance sheet in the 3 major pro sports didn’t stop the NFL from attacking the people who are both their employees and product by preying on racial stereotypes and bigotry. It’s just the screwed up nature of pro sports. The people that own the product have pure contempt for the people that are the product.

  25. comeonnowguys - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Now hold up: Did they re-test and find him clean? Or did the arbitrator just say, “Unbanned?”

    • manifunk - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:46 PM

      The only positive sample spent 2 days God-knows-where, thus breaking the chain of custody, thus disqualifying that sample’s results either way. Since this was the only test, of 25 Braun has taken, that was positive, there was no concrete ground to ban him.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:58 PM

        Obviously that means it was tampered with right? Lol. Ridiculous. He obviously wasn’t ready for that test and got lucky that MLB messed up the chain of custody. Good for him. He’s still a cheater unless you believe somebody tampered with his sample.

    • jwbiii - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:57 PM

      Yes. He requested a re-test as soon as he was informed and it was clean.

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