Suspended Or Not, Ryan Braun Seems Anything But Innocent
There is a difference in the terms innocent and not guilty. And Ryan Bruan falls under the second. Yesterday, an arbitration panel handling substance abuse suspensions overturned the National League MVP's 50-game suspension.
Back in October, the sports world was shocked to hear that the Milwaukee slugger had tested positive for high levels of testosterone. And ever since that day, Braun vehemently denied the accusations, boldly claiming his innocence.
Many before him have tried to clear their names from the looming performance-enhancing drug cloud and all have failed. Many have appealed fines and suspensions, whether it be for a scuffle or gesture, and Major League Baseball has squashed those. This is the first of its kind, and with it will come relief, criticism but more than anything, questions. If Braun's positive test left you looking for answers, well this ruling did you no favors. Every time Ryan Braun steps up to the plate, he will meet the boos of opposing fans and the speculation of everyone. This ruling will follow him for the rest of his career, yet the last thing that will be remembered is the word innocent.
I have seen Rafael Palmeiro wave his finger at the United States Congress, Mark McGwire plead the fifth, and Roger Clemens sweat under oath, all in attempts to proclaim their innocence regarding the use of performance-enhancing drugs. But never before has a suspension, a positive test, a seemingly "slam-dunk" case been overturned in favor of a player until Braun. Many writers have argued in favor of this ruling stating the system has worked, and in that sense I agree. The fact that a player can appeal and can win shows that the system is fair and is not impossible to beat.
But then there is the reasoning behind the panel's ruling. Upon the breaking news that Braun would be lacing up come March, tidbits of facts regarding the ruling began to surface. And now it appears that it was a technicality in the process that got the NL MVP off. Though he has, and continues to proclaim his innocence, it appears that the facts show that Braun might find himself on the side of "not guilty" rather than "innocent". If it were not for a mistake in the delivery process, would the arbitration panel have overturned the original ruling? There is no evidence supporting Braun's claims that he did not take performance-enhancing drugs. There is no reason to believe that the high levels of testosterone were a fluke. I am left wondering why Braun does not come out and say the reasoning behind the failed drug test. If he is innocent, there should be nothing to hide, right?Continued on the next page