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Ryan Braun wins the appeal of his drug suspension

Feb 23, 2012, 5:22 PM EDT

braun tall getty Getty Images

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. saints97 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    By the way, the reports are that he skated due to a technicality in the process, not because he didn’t cheat.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:52 PM

      But I thought it was herpes medicine? Wasn’t that the initial reports coming out of Milwaukee?
      Either way…shame on MLB for screwing up the process and congratulations to Ryan Braun.
      Bring on opening day!

  2. henryd3rd - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Why were the results of his failed test leaked to the press in the first place? Once again MLB security measures failed and a player’s reputation has been tarnished by whomever leaked this story in the first place. I feel for Braun because no matter the outcome there are people out there who will always feel that he beat the system; not that he was not guilty as charged.

    And the fact that the Brewers are owned and operated by Bud Selig’s family/daughter makes this story really even more questionable.

    • bigdaddy0602 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:55 PM

      Owned and operated by the Seligs? You still living in the 90’s buddy?

  3. muskyhunter2542 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    FU*K YOU Mark Fainuru-Wada!!!!

  4. saints97 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    I wonder if Mr. Calcaterra has this same attitude when a rapist walks free because he wasn’t read his Miranda right properly. Skating on a technicality is pretty much the opposite of being innocent, and certainly no reason for his critics to apologize. Instead, the critics can just re-aim their scorn to the morons who fouled up the process.

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

      Yes that is a perfect, non-hyperbolic, totally reasonable analogy to make. Excellent contribution to the discourse here.

      • saints97 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:59 PM

        So skating on a technicality is different when it is a Brewer? Or it is different for criminal cases?

        You clearly have a bias here, and I don’t blame you for that. But if MLB does not take their testing process as seriously as the D.A.’s office takes criminal due process, then MLB’s system is a joke.

        You can’t argue that Braun was clean, because that is not what this ruling is saying. The ruling is that the system was broken, not the sample was clean, or that it wasn’t his sample.

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

        Not all technicalities are the same. When the *only* evidence of a violation of the rules cannot be verified or its integrity is questioned, then you cannot punish based on that evidence alone. Especially when he has passed 24 previous drug tests just fine.

        In your case a technicality not related to the crime got the criminal off, even if there was a preponderance of evidence against the rapist. In the Braun case, the ONLY evidence of a positive test was brought into question. Completely different scenarios.

        And if “logic” is a bias then yes I guess I am biased.

      • manifunk - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:10 PM

        “Chain of custody” is not a mere technicality. It’s even more important when it is violated in the treatment of the *only* piece of evidence in the case. Braun had tested negative 24 times before this. The only piece of evidence was this test, and the 2 day window of broken chain of custody disqualifies the sample and its results.

        In your analogy, a technicality overrode a preponderance of evidence of guilt. In the Braun case, the ONLY piece of evidence of guilt was (rightfully) called into question. Totally different scenarios.

        And if “logic” is a bias then sure, I am biased.

    • hammyofdoom - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:58 PM

      Wow, why even go there? I… I don’t understand.

      • saints97 - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:03 PM

        Because chain of custody screw ups that allow someone to walk free are not the time to start waiving the finger. Those are the times for people to put scrutiny on the broken system, not the people who don’t like cheaters (or criminals, in my example).

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:19 PM

      Mr. Calcaterra has this same attitude when a rapist walks free because he wasn’t read his Miranda right properly

      As absurd as your comparison is, considering Craig is a former lawyer I’d bet he’s far more happy to have the justice system work as it’s supposed to than see someone convicted in the courts [of public opinion].

  5. mac065 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    The reason he tested postive is because he has an STD, and he was taking medicine to prevent outbreaks of the herpily nerpilys. Braun is dirty, but only because he messes with chicks from Wisconsin. Rap it up buddy, in fact take 2 if you live in WI.

    • jwbiii - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:01 PM

      Ryan Braun’s girlfriend is from Miami.

      http://wtpbaseball.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/babes-of-baseball-ryan-braun-edition/

  6. muskyhunter2542 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    Mark Fainuru-Wada tried to break Braun… Now its time to break Mark Fainuru-Wada!!!

    • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:01 PM

      Why? He was right. Braun tested positive for a banned substance. He got lucky that MLB fucked up with the sample. Any other way to look at it is wishful thinking of a Brewers fan.

      • scatterbrian - Feb 23, 2012 at 8:28 PM

        Why can’t you understand that because “MLB fucked up with the sample” the sample is no longer testable, and that the test results are therefore irrelevant?

      • muskyhunter2542 - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:29 PM

        It never should have been leaked in the 1st place

  7. muskyhunter2542 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    The reason he tested postive is because he has an STD, and he was taking medicine to prevent outbreaks of the herpily nerpilys. Braun is dirty, but only because he messes with chicks from Wisconsin. Rap it up buddy, in fact take 2 if you live in WI.

    There is no proof of this… This is just some internet hack trying to make a name

  8. mattjg - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    “Braun is the first player to successfully appeal a drug suspension.”

    Why do people keep saying this? Braun is the first player to successfully appeal a drug suspension THAT WE KNOW OF. In most cases, where no one leaks the failed drug test, we never find out about the failed drug test unless the arbitrator upholds the suspension. This could have happened plenty of times before and we just never found out.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:20 PM

      I don’t have time to do the google searching, but I’m pretty sure a MiLB player also succeeded. So if you put the MLB tag in the comment it could technically be correct.

  9. muskyhunter2542 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Why were the results of his failed test leaked to the press in the first place? Once again MLB security measures failed and a player’s reputation has been tarnished by whomever leaked this story in the first place. I feel for Braun because no matter the outcome there are people out there who will always feel that he beat the system; not that he was not guilty as charged.

    And the fact that the Brewers are owned and operated by Bud Selig’s family/daughter makes this story really even more questionable.

    If thats a fact… Then who the hell is Mark Attanasio?

    • foreverchipper10 - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      They are not owned by Selig or his family.

      • muskyhunter2542 - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:28 PM

        I responeded to this. Read the last line asking who mark attanasio is. That was my post.
        Im a Brewer fan and a season ticket holder. I live in Milwaukee area. I know damn well who the owner is.

  10. trigzter - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    if only they would actually release information on why they voted the way they did. we might actually learn something

  11. mac065 - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    musky…its been the rumor by inner baseball reporters for months. It was reported on 810 am in KC 1/2 hr ago.

    • muskyhunter2542 - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:30 AM

      Just like you said…. Rumor!!!

  12. stlouis1baseball - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Alright…I want to know how much Calcaterra paid Gleeman, Silva, et al… for this opportunity to write this article. He owe’s you guys! Big time dinner…with numerous cocktails.

  13. phillyphreak - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    I can’t wait until tomorrow on HBT- lots of links to “He still cheated” stories.

    I think it’s pertinent to point out (like we did last December) that players have won these appeals in the past but those never get leaked (Tweeted by KG and Jay Jaffe). Sounds like someone leaked the story too early….

  14. nightrain42 - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    This is BS. The golden boy gets a pass. Double standard. Let big Mac and Bagwell in the hall

    • meteor32 - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:14 PM

      No one has ever accused the BWAA of being a cogent organization with a rational decision making process.

  15. racksie - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Hey, I heard about this thing at ProHockeyTalk, where abusive remarks will result in their submitter being banned. No such thing on HBT, huh?

    • jimeejohnson - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:21 PM

      Nope!

    • phillyphreak - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:52 PM

      Oh it exists.

  16. brewcrewchamps - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    This is to cap off my point that ESPN is a bunch of fools. They started this in the first place. It’s about time they figure this out though. MVP MVP

  17. phillyphever - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Congrats Braun. Now hire a lawyer and sue the doctor/pharmaceutical company that gave you that drug.

  18. canowack - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    He only won his appeal because he was MVP…that would mean hell for the fan base of MLB had they gone through all this new testing and crap then their NL MVP tests positive. He’s still a cheater in my book…

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 23, 2012 at 8:36 PM

      Yes, because no former MVPs have ever been accused of taking steroids, oh wait…

  19. ponsonbybritt - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    We’ll never know if Braun actually cheated, but when I first heard of the overturned suspension, and that he is the only MLBer to ever successfully have one overturned, well, there’s a saying we’re quite fond of at work: “It’s who you are”.

  20. threeskis - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Braun took a medication that contained a banned substance…std or no std….Back room dealings between the arbitrator and Braun’s attorneys I’m suspicious of….JC Romero is currently involved in civil litigation for the same type scenario and he lost his appeal….

    • Chris Fiorentino - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:05 PM

      Exactly!!! Except Romero was just some left handed specialist for the phillies while Braun is the reigning MVP. Things that make you go hmmmmmm. But hey… Braun is 100% clean because the arbiter panel voted 2-1 in his favor. Lol at the blind Brewers fans. Well at least their team can possibly get to .500 this year because if Braun was out 50 games they would have been closer to 60 wins than 81.

  21. mute617 - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    I can’t believe there are still people calling him a cheat.

    • jwbiii - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:58 PM

      “No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.”
      – H.L. Mencken

  22. aintthenazz - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    I’d advise everyone to put this guy on their fantasy rosters. He now has free reign to roid it up all he wants. They won’t have the “fortitude” to come after him again!

  23. redbirdfan81 - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    With an arbiter’s name like that, it is a SHAM! The entire process. Another case of the inmates running the asylum, just like the bums in America electing Obama!

    • jwbiii - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:09 PM

      Shyam Das has been arbitrating labor issues for 35 years, mostly in the steel and transportation industries. His resume is on-line. If you take a minute or two, you’ll look smarter. I can only assume your political opinions are equally well considered.

      • jwbiii - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:28 PM

        Some poster on some other board uses Das in NATCA-FAA disputes, respects him, and hopes his written ruling is made public.

  24. hodag54501 - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Maybe, haters, just maybe, Braun was innocent to begin with. I sincerely hope the public in general is ready to say you are “guilty until proven innocent” when you are wrongly accused.
    The panel reviewed the same evidence…and probably more…than the group who made the original determination.
    Remember: just because ESPN says it doesn’t make it true.

  25. jrspike - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Throw out all the test, Barry & Mark your on your way to the Hall of Shame.

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