Re: Ryan Braun going down?
I wish more people would really try to figure out the truth instead of going into these topics with their minds already made up.
The PEDs cheaters should be severely punished (even though it is clear that the effects of PEDs have been hugely overblown as has been exhaustively shown by Baseball Prospectus and others). Breaking the rules to gain an unfair advantage is unsportsmanlike and in the case of PEDs can truly harm one's health. Testing should be more frequent and more effective. Get rid of the cheaters so we can stop talking about this issue.
If we are going to severely punish the cheaters, we need to make 100% sure that the people we punish are in fact guilty.
It seems that too many people want to destroy players when the evidence against them is flimsy. That strikes me as totally dishonest and un-American.
How can we make sure that a player's food or drink was not dosed with PEDs by someone else in an effort to get him suspended? How can we be sure that allegations are true? How can we be sure that the testing process is infallible and perfect 100% of the time? We don't want to destroy players if we are not 100% sure they are guilty do we?
There have been over 100 players suspended by baseball for PEDs. Only one of those has successfully appealed his suspension. The arbitrator has ruled against the player in every single case except one. Shouldn't that give you enough pause to at least consider the possibility there were very good reasons for overturning Ryan Braun's suspension?
Since the player is not allowed to appeal the results of the positive drug test, Braun's legal team had to find a violation of the protocol as a means of triggering a hearing in front of the arbitrator. Once the hearing starts the defendant can present all of his arguments for why he should be exonerated. These arguments may include a lot more than just the technicality that violated the testing protocol. My suspicion is that the custody chain of the urine sample was the technicality that triggered the hearing, but was not the main reason why the suspension was overturned. (Remember, the arbitrator never released a report stating why the suspension was overturned -- nobody knows he official reason(s) why he was exonerated. People think they know, but they don't really know.) I believe the real reason is that his test results were astronomically high -- higher than any other test ever run. Twice as high as the next highest sample ever tested according to some sources. That is a real red flag and could indicate a defective test or a spiked sample. How could Braun's test result be twice as high as the East German Olympic weightlifters yet he didn't have any physical, emotional or behavioral side effects? The facts that his sample was mis-handled and the test results were beyond anything ever seen before calls into question whether the sample was tampered with. Who knows what other evidence and arguments were presented at the hearing? It was never made public, so we have no way of knowing. The independent arbitrator Shyam Das obviously felt the evidence to convict Ryan Braun was not sufficient. He ruled to revoke the suspension. This was the first time he had ever ruled in favor of a player. He had ruled against the player in every single hearing prior to Braun's, so you can't claim he was biased in favor of the players. For a professional and independent arbitrator to make an unprecedented decision such as this there must have been a very good reason. For us to insist that Braun was really guilty and just "got off on a technicality" is totally illogical and irrational.
If it turns out that Ryan Braun did in fact use PEDs and it is adequately proven then he deserves to be suspended for a long time without pay and his reputation should be permanently ruined. So far that has not been proven, so it is unfair and dishonest to disparage his character unless and until he is proven guilty. There are plenty of proven PED users to vilify, so far Ryan Braun is not one of them.
Let's make sure our villains are villains before we hang 'em high.
Once they are proven guilty I have no problem with hanging them at high noon in front of the courthouse.