Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Why MLB Player’s Should Be Thanking Ryan Braun

On Wednesday, February 22, Ryan Braun won his appeal of his 50-game suspension due to an alleged positive urinalysis for synthetic testosterone. MLB players should be thanking Braun and not smearing him behind his back.

Braun won his appeal due to questions raised of the chain of custody of his October 1st sample. Instead of immediately shipping it off via FedEx, as required by MLB collective bargaining rules, the collector stored the sample in his refrigerator for about 44 hours. MLB’s procedures for handling samples weren’t tight, and Braun’s lawyer attacked it and they won their case.

Zeb, George, and I were all court reports in the Marine Corps. We sat and listened through hundreds of urinalysis cases. We know that the government has to do everything correctly by the book in order to gain a conviction. It has to be that way. When a person’s name, career, future, etc., is at stake, the burden is on the government (in Braun’s case MLB) to prove that they followed every step, every nuance, of the rules. When it doesn’t happen, the accused goes free. One misstep along the way invalidates the entire procedure.

Must Braun still address how the synthetic testosterone got into his sample? No, because when there’s a chain of custody problem, you will never know if it was truly your sample that was tested. Sure, I bet the seals, labels and initials on the bottle appear to be intact; but can you be 100% positive with a broken chain of custody?

Hard to believe, but I believe the system won. When you have procedures in place that are not followed, it exposes flaws that will have to deal with it. Before the next player is exposed and vilified in the media, which never should have happened in the first place, MLB will have to address these issues and tighten up their procedures.


Zebster said...

I absolutely agree, as you might have guessed. He does need to be careful regarding public opinion that he doesn't attack personally the person in charge because it makes him look petty, and unfortunately public opinion is going to be that he got off on a technicality. I've always said that it would be worth it if these guys got themselves tested by an independent tester on a regular basis so that if they popped on a test and wanted to dispute it, they'd have that to use to say they really haven't been using.

Brent said...

The independent testing wouldn't help in an appeal. Remember, according to ESPN reporting, the test that Braun took after the positive came back clean and MLB still was going to suspend him 50 games. So what is MLB going to say about a test that they didn't conduct?

The sad thing about this is that Braun has been convicted in the court of public opinion because there was someone in MLB that decided they would stooge to the four letter network.

He will never make the Hall of Fame even if his numbers say that he is a Hall of Famer because of the Baseball Writers of America. So the only thing he has to play for is rings and money. Basically, he is on outcast like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire. And that is the worst thing that this experience has done to anybody.

Zebster said...

You're absolutely right, Brent. My point about regularly taking another test relates to public opinion. If I took a negative test a week from when the MLB test said I was positive, I can at least point to that and all the other negative tests as a way of saying that one positive test was wrong. Not perfect but better than nothing.

Shel said...

Great article and thanks for the clarification. As far as public opinion is concerned... the only way to fight is to remind the public that if they were being tested for anything (in their job) wouldn't they want the process to be followed???

It needs to hit home in order for people to realize they would want to be treated properly and therefore shouldn't everyone else be treated the same. We have a process/procedures for a reason and without it life would be chaos.