Friday, January 20, 2012

Braun PED challenge will test the system

I will not be at the baseball writers’ dinner tomorrow, but Ryan Braun will be and I will eagerly read the Sunday newspapers to see what he has to say about testing positive for a banned substance, a result that he spent yesterday fighting.

Braun apparently will not do interviews at the dinner, although he is expected to give a speech in accepting the National League Most Valuable Player trophy. But what could he possibly say that will make anyone feel better about this terrible situation?

If I was attending the event, as I did last year, I can tell you what I wouldn’t want to hear. I do not want to hear Braun claim that he is innocent because he mistakenly took a banned substance. The players get a lot of education and guidance about what’s allowed and what isn’t under baseball’s drug policy so that is simply no excuse. And I don’t want to hear him pull a Jason Giambi by offering an apology without specifying what he is apologizing for.

If I had to guess, I think Braun will say something along the lines that his positive test only proves that there is something wrong with the drug testing system. Let’s assume for a moment that Braun is completely innocent and ultimately successful in his appeal, which under normal circumstances I would root for because he seems like a good guy. But that would have terrible consequences for Major League Baseball, which would have players challenging every dirty test and everyone else questioning the system. It would force MLB and the players’ union back to the negotiating table and those two sides do not have the best history of working together on this issue. For the sake of baseball, it feels like Braun has to lose his appeal or he could end up inadvertently destroying the drug testing system it took many painful years to build.

I was tempted to attend this year’s dinner, mostly because Mariano Rivera and David Robertson of the New York Yankees will be honored. But I have a concert to go to that night, which won’t be nearly as dramatic and controversial, but will be a lot more fun and a lot less uncomfortable to sit through. 

Thanks to Steve Paluch via Wikipedia for the Ryan Braun photo. 

No comments:

Post a Comment