It was announced earlier today that NL MVP Ryan Braun won his appeal of the 50 game suspension that was handed down by Major League Baseball for a failed drug test. Braun won his appeal on a 2-1 vote from a three member special panel earlier this month. The special panel consisted of a representative from Major League Baseball, a representative from the Major League Baseball Players Association, and a neutral third party. And it was that third party that exonerated Braun much to the disliking of Major League Baseball.
“As a part of our drug testing program, the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association agreed to a neutral third party review for instances that are under dispute,” read part of a statement from MLB executive vice president for labor relations Rob Manfred. “While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”
The key to Braun’s case seemed to center around the protocol by which his sample processed which ultimately turned things in his favor.
According to multiple reports, Braun contended that protocol had not been followed, calling into question the chain of custody of the sample when it wasn’t immediately sent in via Fed Ex as required by the testing policy.
It would have been far more difficult, experts say, for Braun to fight the result based on supposedly inadvertently taking a supplement or medication that included a banned substance, even if it truly had been prescribed for a purpose not related to performance enhancement. So a challenge based on improper protocol stands to reason as Braun’s only chance to have gotten the appeal honored.
Whether or not Braun was really cheating, he indeed beat the system. And it’s pretty much a guarantee that this will be the last time someone will pull this off.