After Ryan Braun faced cameras on Friday morning to comment and answer questions about his successful appeal of a 50-game suspension for a positive test in a PED screening, both Major League Baseball and its players union denied being the ones who leaked his positive test to ESPN, who reported the news months ago.
The network’s “Outside the Lines” program ran with the story on Dec. 10, 2011. Video posted to the left.
MLB defended the testing procedure and the specific handling of Braun’s urine sample with gusto on Thursday, saying, “While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”
While Braun couldn’t answer reporters’ questions about why he tested positive in the first place, he refused to open up his private medical history to offer an alternative reason to the presumption that he did something against MLB’s rules. He shouldn’t have to. Read: Should Ryan Braun be victimized twice to prove his innocence:
That is an argument that may continue in a courtroom at some point but the bigger question remains: Why does the public know about any of this?
Confidentiality of testing and results is promised to players, who must participate unless or until: 1) a positive test is not overturned on an appeal or; 2) a player chooses not to appeal it at all. Braun was outed months ago losing his sterling reputation in the minds of many fans and media observers.
The process is supposed to work to prevent this kind of disclosure precisely for the reason we are dealing with today. Ryan Braun’s positive test result was rejected after review of the arbitrator, approved by both sides.
Braun has lost his reputation and will be forever tainted as the guy who won his appeal on a technicality. Despite a valid argument this morning that MLB and the public should give as much credence to his arbitration win as they would if he had lost, Braun knows he will never be the same guy that had a golden 2011 season and won the award for MVP.
While not specifically saying that he and his attorney didn’t leak his test result, which is safe to assume would have been more than foolish, he threw the gauntlet down to the other two sides of this triangle: the union and the league. They have responded accordingly.
MLB’s response later Friday read in part: “With regards to the breach of confidentiality regarding this case, both the Commissioner’s Office and the MLBPA have investigated the original leak of Ryan Braun’s test, and we are convinced that the leak did not come from the Commissioner’s Office.”
The MLBPA also issued its own statement on the subject: “The breach of confidentiality associated with this matter is unfortunate but, after investigation, we are confident that it was not caused by the Commissioner’s Office, the MLBPA or anyone associated in any way with the Program.”
Someone leaked this and Ryan Braun is the only person who has suffered damage to his reputation and his potential earning capactiy as a product or company spokesman. During the BALCO investigation, more than 100 names of ball players who tested positive made their way into the public eye.
It was determined that a member of BALCO’s defense team named Troy Ellerman who represented an exec at the company, acted improperly, was held criminally responsible and did jail time.
What about appointing an independent investigator to look into this matter and announce the answer? Then there would be equal pain and shame on both sides and maybe a new testing protocol along with tightened privacy will be the result.