Ryan Braun And His Bittersweet Victory | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Ryan Braun will not serve a 50-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy.

News broke on Thursday evening that Braun won his appeal, via a 2-1 decision, yet that has not stopped an extremely vocal segment of baseball fans from maintaining his guilt. According to them, Braun weaseled around the spirit of the policy and was exonerated based upon a technicality because the positive test was never disputed. It was never proven that the results that discovered synthetic testosterone in his sytem were faulty. Thus, he should still be viewed as guilty in the public consciousness.

Nevermind the policies and procedures put in place by Major League Baseball to ensure the validity of their testing. Those are just inconvenient speed bumps in the race to assume guilt in some vein attempt to preserve the purity of the game of baseball that was never “pure” or “clean” to begin with.

Multiple media outlets, including ESPN, are reporting that the key detail in the case was the fact that the courier — who was to deliver the sample to FedEx and ship the sample to the testing facilities — mistakenly thought FedEx was closed on Saturday evening. The courier then brought the sample home and refrigerated it until Monday, when it was then shipped to the testing facility.

The procedures state that the sample must be shipped as soon as possible. This is to maintain the integrity of the sample and to ensure that the results are as accurate as possible.

Correct procedures were not followed. The sample sat for two days, and when it did so, the subsequent results were questioned. The results may have not been incorrect. Ryan Braun may have taken performance-enhancing drugs. However, we don’t know for certain because the procedures and protocols exist for a reason. They exist to remove that doubt.

We are all now left with a distinct feeling of uncertainty. Was the test accurate, or was it not accurate? We don’t know. You don’t know. I certainly don’t know, and when doubt exists, it is unfair to proclaim unequivocal guilt.

That is exactly what the arbitrator Shyam Das did when he exonerated Ryan Braun. He did not place a stamp of innocence on the Brewers’ superstar. His ruling said that the arbitrators were unsure as to whether the breach of protocol skewed the results. His ruling essentially said that he didn’t know.

And you don’t ruin a player’s career and reputation if you don’t know.


The fact that significant disagreements continue to be bandied about amongst the baseball community tell us one thing: The Ryan Braun story will not be disappearing anytime soon.

Discussions surrounding whether he is “clean” or “dirty” will continue, and if Braun remains one of the premier players in the league for the foreseeable future, the discussions will reach another level of intensity once possible consideration for the Hall of Fame enters the equation.

If Jeff Bagwell cannot garner enough votes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame because it is the unverified opinion of some baseball writers that he took steroids, can you imagine the rhetoric regarding Ryan Braun?

And to think, this remains a story that should have never come to the forefront. Positive tests are not supposed to be announced until an appeal has been filed and overruled. If the appeal wins, the story is supposed to fade into the sunset, never to reach the eyeballs or ears of the public.

Because Ryan Braun won his appeal, this story should have never reached the media. I should not know about this. You should not know about this. Public opinion should have never been swayed. Ryan Braun should not have to had to carry this baggage that will now forever be on his shoulders.

For that, Major League Baseball should be ashamed. Whichever person leaked the story to ESPN sullied the reputation of one of the league’s brightest stars and subjugated him to a myriad of unnecessary questions and presumptions of his character. It’s just an unfortunate story, no matter which way you look at it.

Ryan Braun is one of the best players to ever don a Milwaukee Brewers uniform. He won the first MVP for the franchise since Robin Yount did it 1989. He helped end a 26-year postseason drought in Milwaukee. He led the organization to its first division pennant since 1982. And instead of celebrating those career achievements, he will instead have to deal with nothing but clouds of doubt and suspicion.

That’s not fair, but then again, nothing about the way this story was treated by baseball as a whole was fair.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. desertfool says: February 23, 2012

    That is the shame of all this. They say that no one ever beat a test, but we don’t know. In this case, we should not have, but do, know that he tested positive to begin with. And that, even if it wrong, is a shame. Shame on ESPN and MLB for the leak.

    It is very early to talk of Ryan in the HOF, but he is trending that way. And it is a damn shame this will be hanging over him forever.

    • Unbiased Observer says: February 25, 2012

      First of all, ESPN reports the leak, it didn’t create the leak. And the ESPN report who reported the leak says THE LEAK DID NOT COME FROM MLB BASEBALL. The reported will not, of course, say where the leak came from, but it had to come from either (a) The Player’s Union or (b) Braun’s legal team.

      Get your facts straight, nimwit.

    • Unbiased Observer says: February 25, 2012

      So here’s the dope: If Braun wants to prove his innocence (he hasn’t as of yet and if he suggests he has, that makes me think he’s guilty as sin), then he needs to do two things: (1) Insist on DNA testing (much debate on whether Braun ever truly offered DNA testing) and (2) Do further investigating on collector’s patterns, habits (did he typically keep samples over the weekend?), and ACCESS TO SYNTHETIC DNA.

      Until he does these two things, everyone outside the town of Milwaukee (including HOF voters) will continue to view him as a cheat.

      END. OF. STORY.

      • Go Cubs says: March 30, 2012

        I hope he wins the Triple Crown this season.

  2. Greg says: February 23, 2012

    Just because some gossip girl couldn’t keep his/her mouth shut, Braun’s legacy could be tainted forever. The person reminds me of those pre-teen girls who can’t keep their mouths shut and gossip like their lives depend on it.

    • bill says: February 25, 2012

      maybe braun shouldn’t have doped and generated a urine sample with a 20:1 T/E ratio – that seems to be what is tarnishing his reputation.

  3. stabby says: February 23, 2012

    i hope we learn more from ryan braun himself about this, and why he said this accusation was ‘b.s.’ from the first. he knew as soon as the accusation was made public that he was innocent, and he said so publicly.

    • bill says: February 25, 2012

      name ONE athelete, EVER, to NOT call BS when being accused of using steroids.


  4. Dan says: February 23, 2012

    I look at this as a motivator for Braun. Not that I think he needs it. But it is not out of the realm of possibility for a player who has accomplished so much in so little of time, to maybe rest on his laurels a little bit. Not much, just a little. Maybe take a day off when he normally would’ve hit the gym. This will keep him with a chip on his shoulder to prove that he indeed is worthy of the HOF.

  5. Woodman says: February 23, 2012

    One of the problems is that the major sports media members won’t even acknowledge the mistake that was made the day this story came out prematurely because their jobs would be a lot less secure if they didn’t have informers running around the sports world digging up whatever stories they can to make them look good. Of course no one should have known about this. ESPN/MLB should be ashamed. Now they’ve been thrown for a loop cause they thought they had a sure thing and watch them scramble to vindicate THEMSELVES for taking the self-righteous stand they did.

  6. Nicholas Zettel says: February 24, 2012

    “We are all now left with a distinct feeling of uncertainty. Was the test accurate, or was it not accurate? We don’t know. You don’t know. I certainly don’t know, and when doubt exists, it is unfair to proclaim unequivocal guilt.”

    People really can’t think this through, can they? I mean, how can you MAINTAIN that someone took something, when the testing procedure itself was flawed? THAT alone should shut people up.

    • Tom S. says: February 24, 2012

      It doesn’t though, Nick. Sportswriters are too caught up in the ballyhoo of continuing to make this a story, and after watching their heroes who were clearly guilty like A-Rod, McGwire, and Bonds fall, they want blood when they feel someone ‘got off the hook’.

      It’s immaturity at its finest. Baseball can’t stand to have lost a case because they want that undefeated record. Now they’ve been beaten in the public eye, and their reputation has in turn taken a hit. They should be mad, but they should respect the policies they put in place. They look like idiots because of it, and down the line, the tables may turn when the sportwriters who understand due process silence the fools.

      I was so happy to see good statements from other news outlets who take the same stance Jim and the rest of us have taken. This should be a closed case, but some just can’t let it go because they’re going off flawed ‘proof’.

  7. NS says: February 24, 2012

    He is guilty. We all know he is guilty. He got off on a technicality.

    • KC says: February 24, 2012

      Wrong. Ass.

    • Unbiased Observer says: February 25, 2012

      I agree, he got off on a technicality.

  8. Tim says: February 24, 2012

    What makes me furious is the constant use of the word “exonerate”, of which you are also guilty. Ryan Braun has been acquitted. He has not been exonerated, because, as you say we don’t know. Exoneration means “we know as a matter of fact that you didn’t do this thing of which you were accused.” Exoneration would be Ryan Braun producing a videotape that showed that the sample tested for no synthetic testosterone, but then a moustachioed villain came into the lab and dumped testosterone into the vial.

    Ryan Braun has most assuredly not been exonerated. He has been acquitted, and his failure to at least argue in the alternative that the test was flawed is, rightly or wrongly (and it’s certainly hard to say it’s entirely wrong), going to be taken as an admission of the possibility of guilt.

    MLB screwed up in shipping the sample, MLB REALLY screwed up in leaking this information, and MLB shouldn’t be allowed to punish Ryan Braun because of its errors. That doesn’t mean anyone should take the victory on appeal as proof that Ryan Braun is innocent. At best, it is evidence of innocence, and if what’s being reported is true, that evidence isn’t terribly probative.

  9. John Haywood says: February 24, 2012

    You all can keep burying your head in the sand, but the facts are the facts. Braun’s sample was not tampered with….the seal was unbroken, the sample was intact and not degraded. He had a 20:1 elevation in his levels of testosterone and was positive for synthetic testosterone. He got off on a technicality that had to do with the person shipping the sample not immediately putting it in a FedEx box and shipping it to the lab. It’s the same as a person stealing a car and getting the charges dropped because the police didn’t read the miranda rights to them. Braun’s lawyers basically said pay no attention to the test that was done by the best lab in the world….because this courier didn’t follow protocol then we can’t say the sample was Ryan’s. Also, for those of you who believe that Ryan Braun is innocent and offered his DNA to prove the sample wasn’t his…..that was all posturing on his part. When push came to shove, he decided not to give the DNA sample. This will all be coming out in the coming days, but Ryan Braun started out like Rafael Palmeiro and those other cheaters saying that he would do anything, but in the end decided against the DNA test. Braun is a great player and didn’t need do this to continue being great. He took a short cut and got caught.

    • Joe B.G. says: February 24, 2012

      How do you know the sample was in tact? How do you know it wasn’t degraded? Because a doctor who is paid by the MLB told you that? Of course he did. The possibility doesn’t occur that the MLB didn’t want to lose this case and will say anything to uphold their integrity? Because they’re an organization, they’re not capable of lying? Only Braun can be lying, I see how it is.

      If you believe everything you hear, I feel bad for you. The world is not an honest place. The fact is the guy who knows the most about this case, Shyam Das, decided that didn’t matter. If that was the case, do you think there’s any chance Braun gets off the hook?

      But go on and keep believing everything that ESPN, CNN, Yahoo, and major corporations tell you. They have absolutely no sponsors with special interests at stake or personal agendas in their reporting. Brewers fans can be accused of the same, but that’s life, brother. Everybody’s wearing rose colored glasses except the independent party, and he says Braun is not guilty. Case closed.

      • bill says: February 25, 2012

        “How do you know the sample was in tact? How do you know it wasn’t degraded? Because a doctor who is paid by the MLB told you that? Of course he did”

        do some homework. sample was sealed and documented when received by the lab. MLB AND the players union strongly supported and backed the use ofTHIS company in charge of administering the testing and couriering!! Don’t blame MLB!! this is the player’s unions love chiled that F-ed up this procedure!!

        • Joe B.G. says: February 25, 2012

          I’m blaming nobody but the guy who screwed up. It was a bad sample, plain and simple. When the evidence isn’t useful, no case can be made.

          The MLBPA’s love chiled is also the MLB’s love chiled, idit.

      • John Haywood says: February 26, 2012

        Do you even understand what you are implying? Do you actually think that MLB is somehow trying to frame Ryan Braun for using illegal substances? If not, then you are saying that the olympic testing facility in Montreal wants Ryan Braun to test positive? If it wasn’t them, then I guess the courier had a problem with Ryan Braun (and obviously did not like his job very much) and wanted to frame Braun for being dirty? I would assume you have never worked in a lab….I have. I understand what these people are talking about, and trust me, the sample is not going to change by sitting on a guys desk for a day or two. It surely is not going to magically get 3 times higher in content and mysteriously have synthetic testosterone in it. Just face it…..he is going to face the music all year long for taking a short cut. He didn’t think he would be tested, took a short cut and got busted. He got off on a technicality. He will hear about it in every park he goes to all year long. Most fans are not as naive as you are and are smart enough to see what happened. Did he give a DNA sample….Nope. Want to know why? Because that would have blown his lawyers case that the sample might not be his. They knew it was his and if he gave a sample the case would have been open and shut. I also really got a laugh out of his press conference. He listed that he didn’t gain weight, or strength or speed. Anyone who understands how this stuff works knows that you use it to recover, not to necessarily get bigger. Look around….no one looks like Canseco or Kevin Mitchell or Sosa anymore. They are all lean. I would bet his lawyers told him to say that because it will make uneducated fans say….see, Ryan didn’t get bigger so he wasn’t taking anything. Either that or he doesn’t understand what he was taking.

        • Frank says: February 27, 2012

          If you think the MLB would be the first organization to claim everything they did was on the up and up and not be telling the truth, you’re a naive kid. He certainly sounds guilty from the sound of things, except nobody has given a full story yet, and arrogant loudmouths keep declaring the “facts” of the case, when all they have is the TMZ of sports using hearsay from people they won’t name. Also if you did work in a lab, act like you have some appreciation for the empirical method, and quit saying a bad sample gives accurate results. And if you don’t think it was a bad sample, then you need to prove it, since the only official information I have, is that the arbiter overturned the suspension because it was a bad sample.

  10. Jason says: February 24, 2012

    It’s like the A-Rod situation. His positive test was taken under the condition that no one should ever know. His reputation has probably been tarnished even more.

  11. Bob says: February 24, 2012

    You realize that it is highly likely Ryan Braun’s people leaked that he tested positive. MLB has no incentive to leak that information.

  12. Jeff Wise says: February 24, 2012

    I don’t agree with all the negativity around Braun and this story. There are certain procedures to ensure accurate results whether it’s for something like this or evidence in a murder trial.

    One small thing can taint evidence and if the moron brought the sample home then I have to be suspicious.

    Btw, I’m not a Brewers fan, Braun fan or a fan of steroids. I’m a fan of accurate results.

  13. smk says: February 24, 2012

    I am not a brewers fan (bluejays) but I like Ryan Braun, he seems like a good guy but I want to know more about what happened because he hasn’t been exonerated he has had his appeal upheld and that is different.

    OJ was acquitted because he had good lawyers but most sane, reasonable people think he murdered his wife and her friend. I once got out of a speeding ticket because the cop had forgotten to “sign” the ticket. Was I speeding, yep but I got off on a technicality (I was a poor college student at the time with more time than money so if going to court would help save me a couple of hundred dollars it was worth it.)

    I want to hear from Ryan Braun what he thinks happened, was he on approved medication that triggered the positive? Did someone slip him something? Was the test a false positive? Or were procedures not followed and he got off on a technicality. I hope it was something legit but in all honesty I doubt it.

    As for everyone getting on MLB for “leaking” it we don’t know who leaked it or why? I’ve heard people speculate that Braun’s camp may have even leaked it, doubtful? maybe but possible. MLB’s strong statement against the verdict makes me wonder what the real story is….

  14. Dro says: February 24, 2012

    Keep in mind, this is NOT a court of law…this is NOT about “innocent until proven guilty”. This is about baseball FANS wanting to know if they can trust the statistics put up by a baseball player, because, as we all know, statistics are the lifeblood of the sport.
    Good for Braun for bringing a loophole in MLB’s policy to light…if nothing else, it will allow MLB to close the loophole early in its testing history and prevent future occurrences. Make no mistake about it though…proof of public, baseball-related guilt need not come from guilt proven in a hearing. The sample was his. The sample was sealed and protected. The sample clearly tested for something that can’t even be called fishy.
    Braun deserves the ire of Brewer fans for bringing them false joy last year. He deserves the ire of baseball fans in general, because he is an incredible talent who, for some reason, was not satisfied with his talent and effort alone. The greatest crime such players commit is that they devalue the careers of equally talented players who had the integrity to never cheat. Braun did, and it’s a shame…

  15. Damen says: February 24, 2012

    This whole situation is ridiculous. This better mean that MLB is becoming less strict on substance abuse laws. If they are going to let Braun get away with this AND keep his MVP award, they should have no problem letting Barry Bonds in as a First Ballot HOF’er.

    • bill says: February 25, 2012

      Good point. Let’s give Marion Jones her 5 gold medlas back while we’re at it. Shall we?

    • Jaime says: February 25, 2012

      Anyone remember Rafael Palmeiro’s huge diatribe before congress?? LOL!

  16. Aaron says: February 24, 2012

    Best article on Braun I have read to date. I wish I could say this to all of the trolls in various comment boards around the web who declare Braun a hero or a villain… It’s not that black & white, i LOVE how you put it…. Braun is not innocent of taking performance enhancing drugs. He is simply not guilty of taking performance enhancing drugs. Let’s let the rest of his career decide how we judge him, not this.

  17. bezbaal says: February 24, 2012

    Judging by the outcome of the Manny Ramirez PEDs bust (his power & batting avg nosedive off the cliff), I’ll bet that Braun has a similar result: significantly inferior performance off drugs that on drugs.

    After he dips down to normal levels, he’ll be frustrated and he’ll start doping again… and hopefully get busted again, just like Manny got busted again.

    And speaking of Manny, it’s disgraceful for baseball to see that idiot playing again. The doping penalties should be MUCH harder, more like bicycling penalties which is 2year suspension on 1st offense and lifetime ban on 2nd.

  18. Jason says: February 24, 2012

    Not guilty doesn’t mean he was innocent

  19. bill says: February 25, 2012

    the one, very important thing you forgot to mention about poor, poor Mr. mistreated, victimized Ryan Braun is that he will still be laughing all the way to the bank with 8 figures of dollar signs $$ in his eyes. “Reasonable doubt” aside, “probable cause” aside, crappy protocol aside, chain of command aside, blah, blah blah aside, you Milwaukeeans are biased and anyone who doesn’t see the forest through the trees needs a wake-up call. NONE of us know what happens, but really, have some common sense people. OCKHAM’S RAZOR


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