Sunday, February 26, 2012

Braun wrong to imply tampering with no proof

I know that Ryan Braun is angry, but he has no right to even imply that some random drug collector tampered with his urine sample.

Braun said he knows what it is like to be falsely accused of something so he did not come out and directly assert that the collector tampered with his sample. But he did everything short of that by talking about not knowing what happened in the 44 hours before the sample got to the testing laboratory. Braun seems to be trying to clear his name by besmirching everyone else’s, including the collector who should have remained anonymous but now cannot because of Braun’s insinuations. I have absolutely no problem with Braun attacking Major League Baseball and the process itself. That is absolutely fair game. But he should not have crossed the line with his tampering implications.

I believe Major League Baseball should fire the collector, who I will not name even though Braun made him a target and he has been named elsewhere. Not because of supposed tampering, but because he clearly could have done a better job getting that sample out to the laboratory that same day rather than keeping the sample in his home. But that does not mean by any stretch that I believe Braun’s implication that the collector decided to frame him for using a banned substance.

Notably, Braun’s representatives did not try to argue during the arbitration process that the Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder and reigning National League Most Valuable Player’s sample was tampered with. Why not? Because they had absolutely no concrete proof that it was and they would have lost that appeal if they tried to focus on alleged wrongdoing. Smartly, they focused on the time lapse between the collection and its arrival at the lab and succeeded in getting the 50-game ban tossed on a technicality. But they should have stuck with that approach in their public defense, rather than trying to subtly cast doubt on the results by even hinting at the possibility of tampering.

Braun has every right to be upset about the process and the leak of what should have been confidential information. If he wants to demand that Major League Baseball fix its drug-testing procedures and find out and fire whoever leaked the information, he is well within his rights. But Braun owes that collector a huge apology for even implying, with nothing remotely resembling evidence, that the guy was out to get him. 

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

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