Posted by Steve
It’s only been a few hours since the news of Braun’s exoneration broke, and you can already find opinions all over the board. MLB’s representatives came out and immediately shredded the tie-breaking arbitrator, Shyam Das, claiming that Braun was found innocent on a technicality. In turn, several articles either disputing the “technicality” claim, criticizing MLB’s process, or both (like here, here, and here, for example).
Because there’s already so much out there on that, I don’t see the point in repeating it, other than to say if the process is flawed, the sample is therefore flawed. Instead, I want to make a point that I haven’t seen made much tonight for whatever reason: We have still heard nothing from Ryan Braun.
Right? Isn’t that sort of crucial? In about four hours, we’ve gone from celebrating Braun’s innocence to relating his exoneration to O.J.’s (actually saw that on twitter). Remember five freaking months ago, when this first (illegally) came out? How Braun’s only reaction was to call the results “B.S.” and say he was totally innocent? I find it pretty hard to believe he’d be talking so confidently if his only line of defense was that the sample had sat out a couple days. There still has to be some bizarre details to this story that we have not heard. Why else would it have taken so damn long to resolve it?
Adding to the fishiness of this is the fact that the report that the ruling was based not on the test results (huh? how?) and instead just on the storing process of the sample. I say it’s fishy, because it comes from ESPN’s Mark Fainaru-Wada. Of course, Fainaru-Wada is the guy who broke the Braun story five months ago in the first place…. So is he the most credible in this situation? Who’s to say he’s not just trying to defend his own original report? And how could the ruling not be based on the test results, when the handling process could have tainted the results?
I just want to hear what Braun has to say tomorrow. The only twist is that, now, I’m not really sure how much he’ll actually give us. If he would have been suspended, I imagine he’d have given us full detail into his defense in attempt to save some face. Now that he’s off the hook, he might not see that need. I truly hope he does though, because otherwise the naysayers will be that much louder. Plus, selfishly, I’m really curious to know what extenuating circumstances dragged this out so long.
As for MLB…. They’re coming off like morons. This debacle is entirely their fault, yet they’re trying to place the blame all on one person (Das). Let’s go over MLB’s errors, from start to finish:
-Letting the positive test get leaked to ESPN in the first place. It’s crazy to think that all of this, including today’s hoopla, should not be known by any of us!
-Messing up the process with the courier. Again, they didn’t intend for it to happen, but you would think they’d have a backup plan if “the courier doesn’t realize FedEx is open 24 hours.” They should be embarrassed that even happened, regardless of whether it was the reason the failed test was thrown out.
-Having this stupid appeal process set up in this format in the first place. If you’re going to have a panel of three arbitrators, why would you have one from MLB and one from the players’ union? They’re just going to vote for their side regardless of any evidence; doesn’t that make them faulty in the first place? Have three independent arbitrators decide the case, not just one.
-Breaking confidentiality again tonight! MLB’s Rob Manfred, the arbitrator representing MLB in the case, popped off, saying he “vehemently” disagreed with the ruling and discussing details of the case. Again, this is all before we’ve heard anything from Braun? Manfred, why are you saying anything at all at this point? Again, THIS IS ALL SUPPOSED TO BE CONFIDENTIAL!
MLB made its own bed in this one, and they now have to sleep in it. I have a feeling this will get worse for them before it gets better. It’s been revealed that they were this careless in this instance, so how will players feel about testing in the future? About positive tests that have already come down? For that matter, how credible does the Mitchell Report look right now? Their entire testing process might come under fire. This is a nightmare for a league that claims to have cleaned up its sport.
It seems bonkers that we haven’t had anything other than a generic statement from Braun at this point. I suppose it’s possible that we don’t get anything more than that tomorrow, but I at least want to wait until possibly forming an opinion that he was let off on some sort of technicality.