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Think Braun is still dirty? Fine, but then at least admit you don’t care about drug testing

Feb 24, 2012, 8:33 AM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers Photo Day Getty Images

After a night’s sleep and a couple hundred angry comments and emails, I think I’ve figured a couple of things out about the Ryan Braun reaction and people’s overall feelings about MLB’s drug testing program. Mostly, though, I’m just dumbfounded at the cynicism and intellectual dishonesty of so many who wish to ignore the arbitrator’s ruling and cast Braun as a PED-using villain regardless.

For years, people argued for Major League Baseball to adopt a rigorous testing regime. Why? To end the speculation. To stop the “is he using or isn’t he” parlor games.  Read every single column written about Jeff Bagwell’s Hall of Fame candidacy and you’ll find some variation of “but for so long there was no testing, so we just can’t know, and that uncertainty is horrible …” sentiment.

Now we have a testing program. And it’s amazing to me just how quickly the end product of that testing program — no suspension for Ryan Braun — is diminished or outright dismissed when results aren’t what people wanted.

I’m talking about those who don’t care that the procedures weren’t followed and say that they still don’t think Braun is clean, his name not cleared.  Sure, you’re allowed to think that if you want, but just understand that if you do — if “we still don’t think he’s clean” or “questions still remain” holds — then there is no purpose whatsoever to have a testing program in the first place. Because even with one in place, people will just assume what they want to assume regardless of the end product, and that’s no different than where we were in 1998.

The reason? Because no scientific protocol has legitimacy if only some parts of it are adhered to and others aren’t. When you go with testing, you go with everything. You can’t say that the preliminary test results matter and the chain of custody protocols don’t. It’s all of a piece.  It’s the entire process that lends drug testing its legitimacy, not just part of it.

But hey, if you still want to crap on Braun — if you still want to say “but his testosterone levels were high, so he’s suspect” or “MLB has egg on its face because the testing failed” — fine. Do so. It’s a free country.  But if you do so, admit that you do it because you simply don’t like the results here. And spare me any whining about the past, and about how Major League Baseball was so lax in testing for so many years before now.  Because as is evidenced by your Ryan Braun reactions, you wouldn’t have cared regardless.

206 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    Craig is on a roll lately.

    • rooney24 - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:54 AM

      Craig, who peed in your Cheerios? Why are YOU so angry lately? I think most reactions to what you have written is because what you have written lately is so angry and self-righteous. Relax a little. Step away from this whole Braun thing. It isn’t a big deal. MLB screwed up the test. Braun gets to play, no suspension. If he never fails another test, this will mostly fade away. If he fails a test in the future, then people can rightly say “see, told you he was using something”.

      • mrfloydpink - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:23 AM

        I think anger and self-righteousness, if you must call it that, are absolutely called for here. I feel the same way Craig does.

        Let us not forget that MLB’s first mistake was allowing this whole story to leak. If they had maintained confidentiality, as they are REQUIRED to do, then we wouldn’t be discussing this and Braun’s name would be clear. Then, on top of that, they did a crap job of handling the test. The guy that collected the sample and then decided FedEx was closed? Part-time employee of MLB who does this on weekends to make a little extra cash. Seriously, MLB? Can’t spend the money to hire someone a bit more reliable than the freaking paper boy, given that peoples’ livelihoods and reputations are at stake here? Then, when questions were raised as to the reliability of the test–and whether or not it was even Braun’s sample–MLB stonewalled. Assuming the reports on ESPN are correct, they adamantly refused to allow it to be compared to Braun’s DNA, to make certain it was legit. And FINALLY, once the process had played out, and the letter of the law had been observed, MLB issued a statement complaining about the result, threatened to sue in federal court, and just generally making clear that “not guilty” is NEVER an acceptable ruling, as far as they are concerned.

        In short, the bad guy in this situation is Major League Baseball. They acted with the kind of arrogance, carelessness, and malice characteristic of the “reserve clause” days. And yet, who is getting targeted by people’s attacks? Ryan Braun. Braun may be a ‘roider, but he also may not be, and we may never know for sure. What I do know for sure is, as much as I dislike and disapprove of steroids, I think that the things MLB has done in this case were MUCH worse. And I find it extremely irritating when people rush to point the finger at Braun without even mentioning the misdeeds of Selig and Co.

      • drunkenhooliganism - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:34 AM

        Ryan Braun MVPeed in his cheerios and it was so full of testosterone that it gave Craig indirect roid rage

      • rooney24 - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:31 AM

        I will wholeheartedly agree that the initial screw up by MLB of letting this leak is wrong. In my opinion, it should be a fireable offense. Someone was charged with keeping confidentiality and didn’t. Regardless of the actual situation with Braun (or any other player), the testing should be done, and all appeals taken care of prior to anything being released.

        But, on the other hand, it isn’t a lot different than the reporting for any other crime. You see reports in the news every day about people being arrested for various crimes. You then often don’t hear about how the case came out, unless it is a big case, so you often just assume the person is a criminal because they have been charged with something. It is unfortunate, but it happens every day. So, in that manner, I can’t feel too sorry for Braun. His suspension was overturned, he gets to play, he gets his money, and if he never fails another test, this will fade away for most people until/unless he plays well enough and long enough to be considered for the Hall of Fame after his playing days.

      • jeffrp - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:31 PM

        Craig is angry because he’s Col. Jessep:

        Col. Calcaterra: Now, are these the questions I was really called here to answer? Fedex hours and basement refrigerators? Please tell me that you have something more

        Lt. Kaffee: You don’t believe that PEDs in baseball are a problem!
        Col. Calcaterra: You’re goddamn right I don’t!

        As long as we’re asking people to admit what they do and do not care about.

      • 4rplzure - Feb 26, 2012 at 2:43 AM

        I concur with rooney24, you are going to give yourself a heart attack. If Braun fails no future tests in the next ten years, he will come out smelling like a rose. If not, the smell will not be as pleasant and you may have to rethink your position as leader of the “Braun nosers.”

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      Craig’s absolutely right. I think that should be that, and I’m sick of hearing about the results, and it’s only been a day.

    • Gamera the Brave - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      But Craig, Braun’s testosterone levels weren’t high, they were “insanely” high.
      Clearly, the “insanely” modifier cancels out any usage of due process or evidentiary rules.

  2. largebill - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:42 AM


    That is a nonsensical line of reasoning. One can believe in an opportunity for due process and accept that a few guilty will go free to ensure that one innocent does not get wronged. If we accept that the safe guards can have that result you can not say that none who benefit from the safeguards could have possibly been dirty. Also, it is possible for someone to be in favor of testing and want the tests to be handled properly. I accept his suspension being overturned and am happy for him personally. However, I don’t accept you getting righteously indignant if I don’t naively believe that his urine magically changed in the refrigerator over the weekend.

    • megary - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      I like this line of reasoning better than Craig’s, but I will say that until (or unless) the arbitrator explains his decision we are all just taking sides here…

      I don’t see how anyone has enough knowledge of all that went down to be able to defend an opinion.

      Line up on this side or that for sure, but be ready to shift if the wind blows.

  3. evanhartford - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    Craig, you sound more bitter than those of us that still question Braun’s innocence. The problem with your argument (as is the problem with most of your arguments) is that you’re wearing black and white shades. If he is found innocent, than that means he’s innocent. Just like OJ, just like Kaycee Anthony, just like Lance Armstrongy and just like anyone that has ever committed a crime or cheated, but there wasn’t enough solid evidence to convict them. Sure, there’s a chance that Braun is totally innocent, just like there’s a chance that Jim Carrey could get with that girl in “Dumb and Dumber”…

    The problem is that a man’s legacy and reputation are not determined by a 12 man jury. Their legacy is not defined by a bunch of sportswriters that sit in an ivory tower with their backs turned to the world. For a public figure like Braun (or OJ/Kaycee/Lance) its our perception of them. Its their actions, words and character. Braun’s lucky. He’s didn’t commit murder, he just cheated baseball out of a GREAT season. He’s lucky because he’s young and he has the rest of his career to show us all how great of a baseball player (and person) he is. But myself and most people will always think he took steroids and rightfully so.

    • catsmeat - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      just like anyone that has ever committed a crime or cheated, but there wasn’t enough solid evidence to convict them.

      I love this line. Damn those people who definitely broke the law but failed to leave behind evidence proving that they did so! We all know that they did it, so why can’t we just throw them in prison already!

      Due process is a bitch.

      • evanhartford - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:49 AM


        Due process is irrelevant. This ain’t a court of law. Braun is just the latest athlete to fall from grace. Lets hope he builds his rep back up. Good numbers and a good attitude over a long period of time (without anymore PED failures) should do the trick.

      • catsmeat - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:03 AM

        “Due process” is not a concept constricted to our state and federal courts, Evan. In the instant scenario, for example, an athlete who receives a positive result on a drug test is guaranteed the opportunity to take appeal from that result. MLB and the MLBPA put that due process into the testing agreement.

    • b7p19 - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:59 AM

      I would rather you speak only for yourself instead of assuming that “most people” think like you. I will not be assuming Braun “cheated baseball out of a GREAT season” because a possibly tainted sample said he cheated. We don’t know exactly what happened and the system said he’s good. Call him innocent or change the system.

    • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:01 AM

      “For a public figure like Braun (or OJ/Kaycee/Lance) its our perception of them.”

      It’s ashame, then, that public perception doesn’t need facts to be formed.

      “He’s didn’t commit murder, he just cheated baseball out of a GREAT season.”

      1) How? 2) He provided other GREAT seasons before.

    • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      “For a public figure like Braun (or OJ/Kaycee/Lance) its our perception of them.”

      It’s a shame, then, that public perception doesn’t need facts to form.

      “He’s didn’t commit murder, he just cheated baseball out of a GREAT season.”

      1) How? 2) He had other GREAT seasons before.

    • mrfloydpink - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:10 AM

      First of all, Craig made very clear in his posts yesterday that he–like any lawyer–understands that a hearing like this generates a finding of “not guilty” and NOT a finding of “innocent.” Ergo, neither Craig nor I nor anyone else who sees things differently than you do thinks that Braun was proven “innocent.”

      Second, there is more than just a vague possibility that Braun got screwed here. I don’t see why this is so hard to understand–these protocols exist for a REASON. They aren’t in place simply for our amusement, or to give the testers a little something extra to do. Lots of bad things can happen when evidence is not handled properly, even if we assume those who are doing the handling are honest.

      Third, and finally, it is fascinating how you and Drew Silva and the others seem to “know” the real truth, or what the verdict should have been, given how much you don’t know yet (and may or may not eventually learn). You are not, I presume, experts in this field. You are not, I presume, members of the bar or certified arbitrators. You CERTAINLY were not present to hear all the testimony and evidence given in the case. You didn’t have more than a month to reflect on that evidence, as Shyam Das did.

      To take an example, ESPN radio is reporting this morning that the sample wasn’t actually kept in the refrigerator during the weekend, it was kept in a tupperware container on the collector’s desk. If that turns out to be true, does that perhaps change things a bit? ESPN also reported that Braun offered to take a DNA test, because he believes the sample may not have been from him, and MLB refused. If true, is that not also problematic? If MLB is confident in its procedures, and even the remote possibility of this mistake has been raised, why WOULDN’T they do the test? Yesterday, ESPN and other outlets reported that Braun’s lawyers were able to prove how a sample, handled in the way his was, could result in a false positive. Again, if correct, isn’t that pretty damned important?

      Craig is right when he says most people will believe what they want to believe, regardless of the evidence. And given that you’re obviously one of those people, well, then I hope for your sake you’re never implicated in a crime based on circumstantial or poorly handled evidence. Because then it will make you a giant hypocrite when your lawyer argues for acquittal on the basis of unreliable evidence…

      • scatterbrian - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:07 PM

        Absolutely spot on, mrfloydpink.

    • grotethegreat - Feb 25, 2012 at 6:46 PM

      Your argument is just as absolute, black-or-white, as you accuse the other guy of being. Braun was “found innocent” because the only evidence of his guilt was tainted beyond admissibility. All that matters to you is that he tested positive–regardless of how badly the required protocol was violated, regardless of circumstantial and behavioral evidence of his innocence. (Didn’t he want to provide DNA so that the sample could be confirmed to be his? Wasn’t the test result absurdly high, even for a long time user? Wasn’t there a complete absence of previous suspiscion around Braun, whose physique exhibited none of the common signs of steroids or other enhancers?)

      The off-the-charts test result proves the sample was either badly mishandled, contaminated, or both. What the result would have been had it been properly handled is impossible to reconstruct. There’s absolutely no burden on Braun to explain away that test result. It’s only importance is that it means nothing. To assume, as you do, that he got away with something is not just cynical and mean-spirited, it’s illogical and stupid.

  4. kwphilly4for4 - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    I believe in due process and that the protocal is there for a reason, my issue is that from what I read the protocal was followed. He fed-ex the sample, as soon as possible. How many other samples taken on a Saturday Evening and were fed-ex’ed Monday. He was trained to handle samples, double sealed the sample and seems to me like he actually followed the protocal to the letter. The sample was intact and untampered with as per the lab’s report.

    To me this technicality makes Braun look worse unless he spends the remainer of Spring training telling MLB fans why he is actually innocent and not just “not guily”, he needs to tell us what he took and focus on the result not the timeline.

    That would be my preference, I hope he takes this as an opportunity to make it right.

    • saints97 - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:08 AM

      I think this is right on. But one thing I haven’t seen brought up is what if Braun has a down year? Does that tilt the scales of public opinion? There is a lot of pressure on Braun to perform this year. Can he do it without his “herpes medication”?

    • madhatternalice - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:33 AM

      “To me this technicality makes Braun look worse unless he spends the remainer of Spring training telling MLB fans why he is actually innocent and not just “not guily”, he needs to tell us what he took and focus on the result not the timeline.”

      Really? So, instead of focusing on playing the game he’s paid to play, you would have him spend even more time discussing this? I have to say, that’s a silly thing to say. In the Court of Public Opinion, the only people who will keep this story alive as the season wears on are the media; announcers, ESPN “pundits,” etc. We live in an age where everyone feels the need to make an instant, snap judgement on someone, and then we move on. Remember Casey Anthony? When she was found “not guilty,” the outrage over the verdict was ridiculous. No one cared that due process was followed, and using your logic, Casey should have spent the next six months telling people where she was and why she didn’t kill her daughter.

      Personally, as a baseball fan, I hope that this is the last that we hear of Braun’s test. Let ’em play baseball!

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM

      Funny how differently people are reacting to Braun compared to Arod, when there was no actual evidence against ARod. Everyone demanded he answer questions, then ripped him for not answering more questions. Braun has not actually denied using PEDs, and there is more evidence against him than there is against Clemens or Bonds. Amazing what a little perceived charm can do.

      Sorry guy, you get your 50 games back, but I’m always going to be more than just pretty sure you are a cheater.

  5. Pierre Cruzatte - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    Craig I rarely disagree with you, but your position is just too extreme here. There is plainly a very real middle ground between “Ryan Braun is a-okay!” and “Ryan is cheating scum in my book.” To deny that his positive test can signify anything substantial because of a glitch in protocol is intellectually dishonest. (I do in fact believe he rightfully won the case. I don’t think it makes me Bagwellian to now believe he took PEDs.)

    • Francisco (FC) - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:10 AM

      The problem I see with this stance is that you don’t treat the chain of custody seriously (oh, it’s a minor matter, like the policeman not reading the Miranda rights, who cares about that, the guy clearly stole the money).

      If the arbiter determined the chain of custody was not followed that means, that according to MLBs own rules, the sample cannot be trusted. Period. for something as serious as this it requires an extreme stance. Either the entire protocol is followed and the man has been caught or he hasn’t. In fact there’s no middle ground to be had here: either he used or he didn’t, you can’t half-use. The fact that according to the arbiter there is a possibility (no matter how minuscule) that this sample could have been tampered with should give you pause. Apparently it doesn’t.

    • chadjones27 - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:11 AM

      “Bagwellian” I like that. That really needs to become part of my lexicon. I’ll have to use it. I just need a good definition. I’m thinking: “of, or pertaining to misguided opinions of someone or something based solely on heresay, without evidence or fact.”

    • Francisco (FC) - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:12 AM

      > I don’t think it makes me Bagwellian to now believe he took PEDs

      It does if Braun keeps putting up great numbers for the rest of his career, never tests positive again and his HoF candidacy is dismissed because if this particular case. But that’s a lot of IFs. Nevertheless, pause and think about that scenario and then think about what you’re saying.

    • saints97 - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      Craig’s position is perfectly reasonable… if you disagree with him, you are an intellectually dishonest buffoon.

      You can take the boy out of the law profession, but you can’t take the law profession out of the boy.

  6. adenzeno - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    For me, the issue is not whether he is innocent of the charges because the protocols were not followed in the arbitrator’s opinion, but whether he used or did not. Had the ruling been that he was guilty of using PEDs and that the protocol HAD been followed, would that have changed the truth of whether he did or did not? I do not know whether he did or did not. The Levels of Testosterone measured would indicate he did use. If, as I read on here, the seals were unbroken etc etc, then where is the broken protocol. IF what was done is standard procedure, then lots of players might seem to have a grievance against Bud and MLB for their suspensions…..

  7. Lukehart80 - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    Can’t we just put up a big countdown til Opening Day and watch the numbers get smaller and smaller?

  8. woodenulykteneau - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    I think what’s more disturbing are the folks castigating ESPN, et al Agnew-style for breaking the Braun story in the first place. Kevin Goldstein nailed it when he tweeted: “If you don’t think reporters should report w/ information that should not be leaked to them, you think Woodward & Bernstein are dicks.”

    • Sean Boulton - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:21 AM

      Except that Ryan Braun allegedly having a positive result on a PED test isn’t Watergate. This process is confidential for a reason – the public has no overarching right to know this information until the process is complete and there’s no public interest being furthered by them knowing. Given the outcome, if there’d been no leak then we would all be none the wiser as to any of this happening. The only people hurt in that event are soapbox manufacturers. Instead, a man’s reputation has been tainted in the “court” of public opinion, even though we still really don’t know any facts beyond the initial positive result. And we probably never will.

      So, yes, as much as I throw the real blame here at whoever leaked the results and violated the confidentiality of the process, I’ll still reserve a slice of it for ESPN and a slice of it for us, too, because it’s our inability to look away from the car crash that feeds the monster.

      • woodenulykteneau - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:22 AM

        “There’s no public interest being furthered by them knowing.”

        Well, it’s not like some people might be educated as to how drug testing is supposed to work. That would be horrible if people learned something about that — especially when drug testing is increasingly being used as a condition of employment, education, even receiving government assistance. No sense holding those people accountable, is there?

      • rooney24 - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:59 PM

        Well, given that most of us here support one or more of these teams by going to games, buying merchandise, and/or paying for their stadiums with our tax dollars, I think there is public interest as to what players are doing. Although, I will agree that if the collective bargaining agreement said that it should stay confidential, then it should stay confidential, as that is what both sides agreed on. Personally, I think that since these teams take our tax dollars to help build places to make them rich, that all of the testing should reported and visible, but that might just be me.

    • largebill - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:25 AM

      Actually, it is easy to think Woodward and Bernstein are dicks and still believe reporters should report information that is leaked to them. Those are not mutually exclusive conclusions.

  9. lardin - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    There called opinions Craig and we all have them, and we are all entitled to them. If you want to believe Ryan Brauns Innocence, thats your prerogative. I choose to believe that he got off on a technicality. He didnt win on the facts, we won on the law, which is all fine and good for avoiding a suspension, but nothing for the court of public opinion…

    • gendisarray - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:03 AM

      That’s just a silly argument. You claim that he didn’t win on the “facts” – but what facts are those, exactly? All you did is presume his guilty and now you’re trying to pass off that presumption as a “fact.” Sorry, it doesn’t become a “fact” just because you believe it to be true. Whether or not he was guilty is exactly the factual issue that was being determined – you putting the cart before the horse in your argument doesn’t change that.

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

        Fact: Braun appealed the findings of the test, therefor they were positive.
        Fact: The Sample sat in some guys kitchen for two days.
        Fact: The aribitrators ruled Bruan’s favor.
        Fact: The System works.

        MY opinion, which carries no legal weight what so ever is that he go away with it. If you dont agree with me, thats fine. I completely understand your reasoning.

    • trey14jewels - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:26 PM

      He passed 25 other drug tests, including 1 right after the positive test. He hadn’t gained any weight,power, or speed since the last negative test, despite the test in question showing insanely high testosterone levels (3 times higher than any other test in history according to MLBPA). The sample was mishandled, the positive test result leaked for unknown reasons, and he was not allowed to compare his DNA to the sample in question. When he wins his appeal after all that, MLB is still not satisfied and is considering appealing the decision. This looks more like character assassination than anything else. But yet he still can’t get the benefit of the doubt from you?

      MY opinion is that you are an idiot.

      • skerney - Feb 26, 2012 at 6:37 PM

        Unless you are the Brewers Head Athletic Trainer or actually are Ryan Braun, you possibly can’t prove anything you just said about his weight, power, or speed to be true. What is a fact is that Braun’s suspension was lifted not because he was found innocent of doping, but because of when it was mailed. The courier of the sample erred the delivery of the urine, but Braun still a cheater. Finally, to what end would it benefit MLB to commit “character assassination” against the reining NL MVP? Why? For what purpose? You are a conspiracy theorist and Craig can’t see this situation for what it is: an example of a guy gaming the system.

        MY opinion is that you believe in heroes, and your’s was found to be a drug user, and is now a practicing bald faced liar.

      • trey14jewels - Feb 26, 2012 at 10:24 PM

        First off, what I said about his weight, power, and speed was a part of his defense and in fact, true. He provided club records of his weekly weigh-ins, strength tests, and baserunning speed. You would know that if you took the time to do some research on the topic, instead of just jumping to your moronic conclusions. Second, in a situation like this, you use the defense that is most likely to win. He could have said outright that the sample was tampered with, would it have made a difference when MLB wouldn’t even let him do a DNA test to prove whether the sample was his or not? In any real court of law, his suspension would’ve been thrown out a long time ago. I won’t debate that he “gamed” the system that MLB instituted, but it’s better than letting it “game” him. Third, who knows why the MLB or anyone would want to do that, I never said they did. But it is perfectly fair to call it into question after everything that has happened. Unfairly leaked test results with no investigation? Refusal of a DNA comparison? Complaining about the result of the appeal when they instituted the system? Something doesn’t add up at all..

        I may be a conspiracy theorist, but it’s better than being another idiotic pessimist who condemns someone without knowing all the facts.

      • trey14jewels - Feb 27, 2012 at 1:19 AM

        Have a read..

  10. jpirish - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:06 AM


    You must work for the players union or are bucking for a PR job. Get Real. The guy got off on a Technicality. It’s like the guy who robbed the store. They ID they guy; but they throw out the evidence because the cops didn’t have a search warrant. C’mon Craig. Face it He Cheated and will cheat again. Im sure he will get caught again. Suspended then I hope you still defend Him. This Helps Braun but hurts the game. Next you’ll pettion the league and let McGwire, and Sosa back in

    • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      FYI McGwire is already in the MLB.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:08 AM

      Not having a proper search warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. God help you if you think of the Bill of Rights as “a technicality.”

      • wsnydes - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:17 AM

        I’ll say this. Being “cleared” in this manner doesn’t make him innocent, it just doesn’t make him guilty. I’m all for due process, but this is in fact the worst case scenario for MLB in my opinion. I’m a huge fan of baseball and the last thing I want is for a reigning MVP testing dirty. With this situation, me as a fan has no idea if he’s clean or dirty. That matters to me as a fan. It might not for everyone, but it does for me. At least with a clean test and a ruling reversal based on evidence, things are clearer. I completely agree that if the chain of custody was broken, then you can’t find him guilty. That clearly isn’t right. If he’s clean, good for him! He’ll also continue to test clean. If he is cheating, I hope he gets caught again and faces the consequences.

      • havlicekstoletheball - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:20 AM

        An unlawful search and seizure may prevent a conviction, or even a trial, based on the evidence. But it doesn’t mean the events did not occur.

        A break in the chain of custody doesn’t mean Braun didn’t ingest steroids. It means he cannot be punished for it under the rules. I am very comfortable with that.

        But to say “See!? It means he didn’t do it!”, that is a rather absurd notion.

      • Francisco (FC) - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:21 AM

        And that, I believe, is probably the best stance we can hope for. If Braun never ever tests positive again and continues to play great, this incident will be viewed more and more as a wacky test result gone awry. If Braun is indeed a cheater he’ll try to keep using having “beat the system” (I mean look at Manny). If he gets caught is the process is properly followed this time he’ll be rightly suspended and tarnished. If he used and now never uses again then his career will go from MVP to unremarkable and he won’t make the HoF anyway and we shouldn’t really care.

      • largebill - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:58 AM


        Failure to follow a procedure based on an amendment to the Constitution or some other law is the text book example of a technicality. Just because a jury can not eat the fruit of the poisoned tree does NOT mean the tree had no fruit.

      • jpirish - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:01 AM

        Yes It is if the guy shoots someone dead w/gun, and gets off because of that. C’mon Criag. God help you maybe you should join the NRA too. Geeze. Quit sucking up to the players union. Go call Palmero and Clemens.

      • badmamainphilliesjamas - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:48 AM

        Nobody cares about the Fourth Amendment until their door is broken down.

      • winkandthegun - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:23 AM

        I’m sorry, but how is this anything other than a technicality? I agree with the decision to acquit him because of this, much like I would agree with the decision to throw out evidence obtained by an illegal search, but neither one is an acquittal based on the merits of the charge. Calling it a technicality doesn’t make it any less valid, or somehow immoral. Regardless of whether or not he actually committed the ‘crime’, he’s getting off the hook because of something other than ‘he didn’t take any illegal substances.’

      • Gamera the Brave - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        But Craig, don’t you understand that, “Face it He Cheated and will cheat again. Im sure he will get caught again. Suspended then I hope you still defend Him.”?

        And since Braun is Jewish, and “Him” is capitalized, “Him” must refer to Jesus – and do you really want to come down on the side of Jesus over English Common Law as an attorney, and —

        Sorry – just got caught in a Circular Logic Loop …

      • 5thbase - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:03 PM

        Craig, you’re a smart guy, but you’re a bit guilty of the intellectual dishonesty you talk about. You’re using the term “getting off on a technicality” in an unreasonable and pejorative manner.

        Although some may equate “getting off on a technicality” with unfairness, that is clearly not the only way to look at it. Additionally, the fourth amendment clearly is a technicality … it is part of the technical literal requirement of what the authorities need to do on their part to bring charges against you. The very nature of law revolves around technicalities and I’m sure that you know that, which is why I see you as being intellectually dishonest here. Technicalities are the only way that legal fairness can exist.

        Rather than complaining when someone says a case was dismissed because of a technicality, I would rather remind them of why those technicalities are necessary and why serious problems of the integrity of situation arise when authorities do not operate within the auspices of technical requirements that regulate them.

        People shouldn’t be mad a Braun here, they should be mad at baseball. If he is guilty, MLB really screwed up a chance to enforce discipline by not handling a number of details correctly. If he isn’t guilty, MLB really screwed Braun by not handling a number of details correctly.

    • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:09 AM


      Also McGwire is still in the MLB.

    • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:11 AM


      FYI: McGwire is still in MLB.

    • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      McGwire is still in the MLB

      (Apologies if multiple posts go through- my computer went crazy. Apparently some of these comments also make it’s memory freeze.)

  11. shea801 - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    To quote one Walter Sobchak:

    “Am I the only one around here who gives a sh*t about the rules!?”

    Craig, I understand your logic and thought process on this whole matter (having read all the entries you’ve posted), but I think you’re on a different plane heading in a different direction than what people have a problem with. I don’t care either way. MLB messed up, and the outcome of this is absolutely justified, and Braun should be exhonerated. The problem is, people will view it as a “technicality” because he did test positive, but he’s not being suspended even though there is the possibility of the sample being tainted. The biggest problem, in my opinion, is the lack of explanation as to how the sample could be tainted, or how little or great the chances are that a sample can be tainted, without it being outright tampered with.

    Simply put, if the sample wasn’t tampered with, what would cause the results appear as though he was using PED? If it was tampered with, why isn’t there a witch-hunt for the person who did tamper the sample? And finally, why the hell aren’t the MLBPA and the media assaulting MLB over disclosing drug test results prior to the test running its course. Braun’s reputation is ruined at this point. He could have ‘Hall of Fame’ career from here on out, and no one will trust it because MLB ruined his image.

    As fans, we should be furious about that.

    /mark it zero
    //smokey, you’re entering into a world of pain

    • megary - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:49 AM

      “The problem is, people will view it as a “technicality” because he did test positive, but he’s not being suspended even though there is the possibility of the sample being tainted.”

      Maybe you mean people in general and not necessarily you? I can’t tell, so I’m responding to the sentiment…

      The problem with the statement above is that, after this ruling, he DID NOT test poitive. In the eyes of everyone, Braun should be viewed as having TESTED negative. Whether you (and by “you” I mean anyone) believe he’s a taker of some illegal substance or not is irrelevant. The fact is that he is clean as per the rules of MLB.

      • wsnydes - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:21 AM

        Actually, he didn’t test negative either. What this ruling essentially says is that he didn’t test at all. The sample taken isn’t a reliable sample. Thus, can’t be used for drug testing purposes.

      • megary - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:39 AM

        wsnydes, you are correct. My bad.

  12. savocabol1 - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    Do you understand that the fact that a positive test occurred wasn’t the issue? So of course people are going to think he is still dirty. Your argument lacks common sense Craig. Maybe you need more sleep.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      And do you [collective you] understand that there’s no way to prove that the sample that was stored [whether correctly or incorrectly considering all the information floating about] was strictly Braun’s sample? That there’s no way to prove it wasn’t tampered with?

      • savocabol1 - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:29 AM


        Let’s assume you are out tonight enjoying a few adult beverages at a local dive bar. After the clock strikes midnight you look over your shoulder and see a guy with a handlebar mustache getting his teeth knocked in by a hippie because he played some Justin Beiber on the jukebox. The cops come and arrest the hippie. Seems like a clear cut case right? The whole bar saw the hippie beat up the mustache guy. A month later said hippie is at a peace rally a free man because the cops failed to read him rights, failed to give him a phone call while in jail, lost his clothing they took from him as evidence, etc.

        You are telling us you would look at the hippie and tell us the hippie is not a bad guy, that the hippie is not someone who assaults people, and that the hippie should be a free man because the procedures weren’t followed.

        I call bull on this.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:50 AM

        Umm, I’m not Craig but thanks!

        And your analogy doesn’t hold water since there are multiple witnesses to the “crime” that may/may not have taken place. I’ll say it again, there’s no way to prove, either way, what happened to the sample between Braun giving it and the drug lab receiving it. It’s possible nothing was done and Braun cheated. It’s possible the Flying Spaghetti Monster came in and messed with the sample. It’s possible the courier did something, or by not doing something, the sample changed.

        Regardless of what did/did not happen, chain of custody rules are in place to preserve the integrity of the sample. The arbiter ruled that the chain of custody was not kept in place, so the sample is invalid.

      • gendisarray - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:13 AM

        @savocabol1 – your analogy is totally misguided. You KNOW the facts about a crime if you were there when it happened, if you saw for yourself the crime being committed and nothing got in the way of your perceptions. Braun’s case is more like you reading in the paper about a guy getting arrested for a crime based on a single eyewitness ID. Except when due process runs its course, it turns out that the witness was legally blind and standing half a mile away. Nonetheless, you still claim to KNOW that the guy was guilty because he was arrested for the crime – which is nonsense. The problem that you and others seem to be having here is equating a positive test result with a conviction that overturned on appeal, instead of just an arrest.

      • Francisco (FC) - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:19 AM

        It’s possible the Flying Spaghetti Monster came in and messed with the sample

        I was going to say the Magical Testosterone Fairy or Cthulu, but the FSM works too.

      • savocabol1 - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:11 AM

        Church, i was adding on to my original comment addressing Craig.

      • Gamera the Brave - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:51 AM

        Well said – and may you be touched by His Noodly Appendage…

      • Gamera the Brave - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:15 PM

        More importantly – hippies are into Justin Bieber?!?
        Maybe if they are separated from their Seals and Crofts Greatest Hits CD…
        Who knew?…

  13. bcopus - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Craig’s point still stands. If you still think he is guilty, you have to own up to not caring one bit about the entire process. The legal system does create some flaws by demanding guilt to be proven, but they are flaws that are absolutely worth accepting to ensure that no innocent person takes the blame on popular demand. If Braun slipped through a crack, we’ll never really know, but he has earned a scotch-free reputation all the same, otherwise there is nothing from stopping me of accusing my neighbor of killing my dog because I found something that could be evidence, and, well, I just really don’t like him and I’m sure he did it, because he looks like the type.

    • lardin - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:24 AM

      I disagree, You can think hes guilty and that the ruling was correct. One is legal opinion and the other is a personal opinion.
      In terms of MLB’s rules, Braun was found not guilty, that doesnt mean that I have to agree with the ruling, but if I were MLB I would have to abide by it.

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

        How? How can you possibly think he’s guilty? Are there any facts that would make you believe that?

        FACT: Ryan Braun has had over 20 drug tests in his career, including three others last year. He passed all of them.

        FACT: The sample was not kept under the required conditions between the time it left Braun’s body and the time it was FedEx’d to MLB.

        FACT: Ryan Braun offered to provide MLB with more details, as well as DNA for a comparison. MLB said no thanks.

        So…how exactly can you think he’s guilty? Craig’s right; the process exists for a reason. If you don’t like the process, that’s fine. But only someone with their head in the sand can walk away from this story convinced of Braun’s guilt.

      • gendisarray - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:46 AM

        It’s true that personal opinion and legal outcomes are different. The law requires you to satisfy a burden of proof and follow procedural safeguards, two cornerstones of what we consider “justice.” Your personal opinion requires, well, whatever YOU require to form a personal opinion about something. But at some point, you’re going to be asked why you hold the opinion that you do about something. And if the only thing you can point to as the basis for your opinion is something that neither meets an independent burden of proof nor was subject to procedures designed to ensure its reliability, your opinion will be unjust (at best).

  14. benstate - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Intellectual dishonesty? Really? If this article was honest, it would start with a disclaimer to alert us that it is for trolling purposes only, so that we would know it is safe to just move on.

  15. ThatGuy - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    I don’t think it is intellectual dishonesty to think Braun used PEDs regardless of what the arbitor ruled. Its very easy to see that he likely used PEDs, but got off because the procedures were not followed(which he should have).

    • Francisco (FC) - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:24 AM

      The problem is you don’t know. But in your mind he did. There is no “likely” about it. This stance is the same as the Bagwell stance: hmm… he was so super muscled… “He likely used…”.

  16. Chris St. John - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Those who argue that this was merely a technicality and that a cheater got off free are ignoring one glaring issue: The chemistry of the urine could have changed over the weekend. Who knows how cold this refrigerator was? Was it able to provide the proper lab environment to keep the sample stable? I highly doubt it. Plus, Braun’s camp was apparently able to recreate a false positive using this same method.

    • Francisco (FC) - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:27 AM

      That’s another thing. We don’t yet know all the details of this case. I can only state an opinion as to what happened with the facts that are at hand. But the situation is currently fluid. My opinion could well change later this morning, tomorrow or next week as we learn more. To me Braun still has the benefit of the doubt. I’ve seen reactions on the board that merely condemned Braun from day one when the test result was leaked and the stance hasn’t wavered ever since. That’s really small minded.

      • scatterbrian - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:43 PM

        Yes, this situation is fluid…

    • Jonny 5 - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      How do we know Fed ex handles samples properly?

      • 4d3fect - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:13 AM

        We don’t– which is, I think, the salient point here.

    • largebill - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:14 AM

      “Those who argue that this was merely a technicality and that a cheater got off free are ignoring one glaring issue: The chemistry of the urine could have changed over the weekend.”

      I hope you don’t really believe that nonsense. If so then you also believe that sitting in a FEDEX office over the weekend magically prevents the chemistry of the urine changing. The test was invalidated because of a procedural thing which allowed Braun’s representatives to make the case that there is NOT 100% certainty that the sample could not have been tampered with. Thing is there would not be 100% certainty unless they tested in the men’s room immediately after sample is obtained.

      • gendisarray - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:53 AM

        If by “procedural thing” you mean (as Will Carroll has been saying since the news broke) that Braun’s defense team produced as evidence “repeatable results” – as in, they showed it was possible to get the same elevated test levels through mismanagement of clean samples – then yes, the test was invalidated because of a “procedural thing.”

  17. lazlosother - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    The test was thrown out because it didn’t follow protocol. Not following protocol makes the test unreliable. An unreliable test shows nothing in terms of innocence or guilt, it is the equivilant of a non sequiter. If we want to let MLB ignore what they agreed to, then it would be intellectually dishonest not to feel the same way about the players. In that case there is absolutely nothing wrong with players using PEDs and this is a non issue.

    There are reasons to doubt the test including chain of custody, and the very high levels reportedly present – more than twice as high as any previous test. If you measure hundreds of results and get only one with such a massive deviation from the norm (even for PED users), you may want to ask why. The fact that this is the first appeal in fourteen that succeeded should indicate that something with the test was highly questionable.

    I don’t know if Braun used PEDs, just like I don’t know if any player is using. None of these guys has been proven innocent, they just haven’t been proven guilty.

  18. thefalcon123 - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    The process exists for a reason. If you are suspending a player for 50 games, you better well make damn sure you are 100% correct. That was the entire point of the appeals board. The fact is, protocols weren’t properly followed and that meant they could not be 100% certain.

    Furthermore, these tests aren’t fool proof. Errors can, and have happened. Several non-steroid drugs can cause spikes in testosterone, labs can misread results etc. Fruthermore, subsequent tests from Braun allegedly turned up clean. The is more than enough here to doubt his guilt. If he actually is using steroids, he’ll no doubt turn up another positive test at some point in the future. So, put down your pitchforks and call off the lynch mob.

  19. ningenito78 - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Craig you are completely missing the point. If he had the positive result overturned due to something legit like a medication related false positive, I would be willing to give Braun the benefit of the doubt. But to say that a guy that collects urine specimens for a living either screwed up the protocol (he didn’t) or intentionally tampered with the sample is a reach. And that’s basically what this ruling is saying. Whether you want to use the word or not Braun got off on a technicality. And in any court of public opinion people that get off on technicalities are viewed as lucky. Not innocent.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:52 AM

      But to say that a guy that collects urine specimens for a living either screwed up the protocol (he didn’t) or intentionally tampered with the sample is a reach

      The little bit I’ve read mentions this guy was a courier. Was he an actual medical courier, or a standard delivery boy? It makes a huge difference. Either way, I highly doubt [s]he was the one who actually collected the sample.

  20. phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    Can we all stop making up legal scenarios?

    • Gamera the Brave - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:20 PM

      Apparently not…

  21. Jonny 5 - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    Which procedures weren’t followed? If MLB is to trust Fed ex with a sample in a non climate controlled environment for how ever long it takes to deliver the sample, How is it that the trained personnel who handles the sample is not to be trusted with it? As far as I’ve read it’s allowed anyway. I’m not saying he’s guilty one way or the other. I will question this verdict though as it seems very unclear as to how protocol was broken.

  22. anotheryx - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    Mah, I have an issue with this but has nothing to do with arbitrator’s decision or whether Braun was cheating or not. This is the biggest case we had (well, besides MBM, who wouldn’t shock anyone), and it got totally f’ed up for something that had nothing to do with Braun. It feels lousy and disappointed(?) and anti-climactic because the end result wasn’t about something Braun did, but was about something some unfortunate schmuck did…

  23. bbk1000 - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Craig is wrong again, but this is the norm for him…I like the fact he got through the article without using the word “awesome”…people in their 40’s should not be able to use that word….

    • Craig Calcaterra - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      I’m 38. So you’re wrong too.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:53 AM

        No Colonel Sanders, you’re wrong!

        [sorry i’m running out of opinions]

      • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    • kopy - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:35 AM

      Awesome is actually a pretty old slang word, and fits Craig’s age well. It’s thinks like “beast”, and overusing the word “epic” that would stick out to me, and he’s too young to say “boss.”

      • snowbirdgothic - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:31 AM

        Agreed. As a modifier, it’s totally marvy.

      • gendisarray - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM

        I always thought a Camaro was a pretty boss car.

    • Loose Changeup - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:18 PM



      Early Modern English 1590-1600, from awe +‎ -some. Compare Old English eġeful (“fearful, inspiring awe”).

  24. AlohaMrHand - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    the real question is,,are we really surprised MLB botched this?Are you really shocked Selig once again gets worked by the union and looks like a fool?

  25. rjostewart - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    I’m just glad people are keeping their perspective and comparing a baseball player possibly taking drugs to robbery, assault, and (in other discussion threads) murder.

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