In the court of public opinion, there are many who now think of Braun as a user of performance enhancing drugs. Probably more believe that it had more to do with a chemical he took for another purpose other than to enhance his performance. Reports are this chemical is contained in the herpes medication he was taking. If I took a poll, the majority of people would state that Braun was not injecting himself with anabolic steroids.
But that doesn't get him off the hook. Braun has a responsibility to himself and needs to know what chemicals are entering his body. Wouldn't you think that somebody that intended to be clean would be self conscious over what chemicals are in ALL medications he is taking? Especially if the player is trying to represent a new generation of players who claim to be not taking PEDs. Up until the failed drug test, Braun was one of those players. Some may say he deserves another chance, especially now that the arbitrator ruled in his favor. I will state the obvious, there is no less suspicion about Ryan Braun right now than there was when it became known he failed the test in the first place.
Perhaps he made a mistake; if he did it was the most self-careless move that a professional athlete could make. Maybe if this was always held against him, it may be considered too much. He deserves some responsibility. He needs to know what is in his body. I have a hard time saying Ryan Braun was a victim of some unfortunate event.
The arbitration panel ruled in favor of a player when the MLB still has a serious problem with PEDs in the game. The birth of the blood testing for HGH will result in a new generation of players who will be caught using PEDs. Braun is not in the same category as Jose Canseco and Barry Bonds and other names that are synonymous with steroids and drug abuse. What the arbitration panel created was another way out for all that use steroids in the sport. Aren't the drug pushers and chemists always ahead of the curve? In addition to making some of the chemicals undetectable, they are able to make chemicals that are similar to others that produce the same effects as other drugs do. So, now every chemist is on alert that if they can make anabolic steroids similarly to herpes medication, players can take them and have an excuse.
These players have taken the time to come up with every excuse in the book. The ruling of arbitrator has just given the players another excuse. It wouldn't be surprising if the next player who tests positive uses a similar excuse. Braun needed to be suspended, if for no other reason to prove that there is no exception policy when it comes to PED tests. All they did by reversing the decision, was give more reasonable doubt to players who are using. As much as Ryan Braun perhaps would have been beat up over a suspension, it would have proven a point and showed that these players need to know what is in their body. If not, the same thing will happen. This decision will produce the opposite effect. It has now created a loophole where players can get their cases overturned. And this will not be the last time a player has his PED case sent to arbitration.
Lets be honest. Has there ever been a player who was honest when using? Very few admitted what they did even when they were caught. Most had some foolish excuse or just chose not to talk about it. There is no honesty with these players. So, why should we believe any one of these stories? No matter how believable anyone can be, there is still a chance the player is lying to our face.
I think MLB has taken a step back here. The technicality that was raised was whether the blood sample was to be sent Fed Ex to Montreal right away or kept in the refrigerator of the person taking the sample. MLB says that if there are no Fed Ex places open (on a Friday afternoon or a weekend), the sample collector has to keep the sample cold until a Fed Ex is open. Braun's lawyers contend that the sample could have been tampered with, leading the arbitrators to rule in his favor. MLB has to make sure that something like this does not happen again. I give some responsibility for providing reasonable doubt. Maybe they should not give tests on Friday afternoons again.