With Ryan Braun yet again receiving attention for his connection to a PED scandal, here’s what we know and what we do not know regarding Braun and performance-enhancing drugs:
What we should not know:
- In October 2011, Ryan Braun provided a urine sample which tested positive for elevated testosterone.
- Ryan Braun contested that positive test.
- One of the arguments he brought before the arbitrator was the handler of his urine sample broke the rules regarding chain of custody set out by arbitration between the MLB and MLBPA.
- The arbitrator ruled Braun’s challenge to the chain of custody was valid, and he dismissed the 50-game suspension.
What we know:
- The MLB’s policy regarding positive drug tests is one of strict liability. If a player tests positive, it is their fault unless there is a mitigating factor that casts doubt on the test results.
- A mitigating factor could be that the sample was incorrectly handled, thus creating doubt as to the legitimacy of the sample.
- There are pieces of paper found in Tony Bosch’s records with Ryan Braun’s name on it.
- Ryan Braun’s name is next to some numbers indicating that he owed Bosch money or had paid Bosch money.
- Braun has claimed to have consulted with Bosch during his appeal process and paid him for his time.
What we do not know:
- Whether or not Ryan Braun was prepared to challenge his positive test on other grounds.
- Whether or not Braun’s urine sample was tampered with.
- The depth of Braun and Bosch’s relationship.
What we can not possibly say for sure:
- Ryan Braun knowingly used PEDs.
Yesterday, ESPN published an article listing other players involved in the Biogenesis scandal. I am sure over the next few weeks we will continue to get more details regarding the documents recovered from the lab. The article also noted that Gio Gonzalez has been cleared of involvement with PED’s, which made me think it’s fair to ask how people would be reacting if this was the first time we had heard Ryan Braun’s name in the PED discussion. Considering the facts stated above, it seems safe to assume that if Ryan Braun’s right to privacy had not been violated, he would be given the same benefit of doubt afforded Gonzalez. Instead, he is being lumped into the same category as Alex Rodriguez, Pete Rose, Roger Clemens, etc.
A friend recently remarked to me that the saddest part about the past year and half regarding Braun and the PED issue is the likelihood that no matter how deserving he may be in the future, Braun will never be given another MVP or be elected to the Hall of Fame. Given the facts stated above, I believe my friend is right. While the facts could change, given what we know so far, how fair is to put Braun in the same company as men who have much more evidence proving their guilt?