Sunday, December 11, 2011

What Now?

So, ESPN has broken the news that Ryan Braun tested positive for a PED during the playoffs.  Braun is appealing the positive result through arbitration.  For more, you can check out this article.

According to the article that I linked above, Braun's representatives say: "There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate that there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program. While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident that he will ultimately be exonerated."

Braun himself told USA Today "It's BS."

That may be true, Ryan, but as we all know in today's world of social media and reporters' wanting to all be first to report something, it seems that the days of "innocent until proven guilty" are long gone.  The reason that the positive result hadn't been made public was because of the appeal process.  I'm trying my best to not rush to judgement on him as well, but as far as I or anyone else knows, no one has ever successfully appealed a positive PED test result.

Also, saying that you didn't knowingly take steroids (Barry Bonds) or blaming former teammates for tainted B-12 injections (Rafael Palmeiro) or taking them because they taste like candy (Manny Ramirez) {ok, I made that last reason up} won't lessen the public outcry for your head.

Even if Braun wins his appeal, what will this do for the actual drug testing program for MLB?  As much as I would like to see Braun exonerated, if this in fact does happen (and that is a slim if), then the validity of the whole drug testing program comes under suspicion.  So, I sure hope there is a good and valid reason as to why he had a failed test.  If not, then he is just like Bonds, Giambi, Sheffield, Canseco, McGwire, etc... 

Matt Kemp must really know how Mike Greenwell feels now, huh?  It would be unprecedented if the BBWAA stripped Braun of his NL MVP award and awarded it to Kemp.  They haven't taken Bonds' 7 awards away. 

My older brother texted me last night all fired up about "MLB knew about the failed test, but went ahead and gave him the award anyway...  I hate baseball..."  This is coming from a huge NFL, College Football and UFC fan.  I love my brother and you have to realize that he gets really fired up, but with all those sports he is fond of...  pot, meet kettle.

I can imagine how Braun felt, apparently being notified of the failed test in October, but yet fielding questions about and eventually accepting the MVP award.  It reminds me of Rafael Palmeiro getting his 3,000th hit but knowing of his failed test weeks before.  Uncomfortable!

Anyway, I'd like to wait to see the resolution of his appeal before I cast Braun into the fold of the known abusers, but it doesn't look like it is an easy road ahead for him.  Again, to my knowledge, no one has won an appeal yet.  It just doesn't make sense for someone like Braun, who has been tested throughout his whole career.  He was tested in the minors and all through his MLB career.  He is very in tune with his 'brand', which is why he signed the contract he signed with the Brewers back in April.  Also, what are the 'unusual circumstances' that his representatives were speaking of?

Blehhh, what a mess you've stepped in, Ryan.  Good luck to you, but it's going to be an uphill climb.
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