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The players are not happy with the Braun decision

Mar 1, 2012, 9:44 AM EDT

Ryan Braun Getty new Getty Images

At least the ones Buster Olney has spoken to.  He reports that he has spoken with dozens and dozens of ballplayers off the record in the past week, and that as many as 80-90% of them are upset at the Braun decision.  They don’t like that he challenged procedure as opposed to substance, and they think it’s bad for the testing program overall, which they sincerely want to work.

I understand that. And I think it’s a good thing for drug testing in baseball overall that there are people who are upset at it.  Like I said yesterday, systems are improved over time when blips and inefficiencies occur.  The Braun decision may seem unjust on some level, but its lasting legacy will not be about what it means for Braun, it will be about how, when faced with a problem in the system, the league and the union can work together to address it. Which I am certain they will here, either by clarifying the collection procedures to their people in the field or by changing the Joint Drug Agreement to conform to the practices those in the field have employed and to apply them going forward.

All of that said, complaints that the Braun decision somehow puts testing at risk is silly.  Braun walking on this charge is no more of a threat to the drug testing system than a guy getting off on a burglary charge because the cops didn’t get a proper search warrant is a threat to the criminal justice system. You may hate the result, but the remedy is easy: get it right next time or change the rules to make what happened in that instance acceptable.  It is not something that puts the entire regime in peril.

Finally, I’ll observe that these complaints all seem a little self-righteous to me.  No one who ever wins on a procedural argument themselves ever seems to have a problem with it.  And I suspect that the 80-90% of the players Olney spoke with here were under the gun themselves, they would not hesitate to make the same arguments Braun did if they or their legal advisors thought to do so.

134 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. stevem7 - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Two things stand out here with the OLNEY people. First and foremost Craig is right that not a one of them would hesitate to use the same argument if they were under the gun. The second thing that really stands out is they aren’t identified. Bunch of really brave souls aren’t they. Afraid to give their names.

    • saints97 - Mar 1, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      I really do enjoy that line of argument.

      Player A (let’s call him Brett Meyers) beats the crap out of his wife. His defense is that she had it coming.

      Player B (anonymous) says that Meyers used a ridiculous defense.

      Brett Meyers then says that Player B is full of crap because if he beat his wife, he’d use the same excuse!

  2. plmathfoto - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    Just got my answer, read Craig’s twitter responses, he used to be a lawyer, explains a lot here.

  3. stumblebum76 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    He’s a cheater, ad everybody knows it. So, what’s the big deal about procedure. Let him walk and thumb his nose at all the honest players in the major leagues. We all know what he is.

  4. ken1lutheran - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    There’s more to the case than that. There was a subsequent clean test. You don’t get that stuff out of your system that quickly. That makes the issue of chain of custody very important.

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