News broke Saturday night that Ryan Braun, NL MVP from the Milwaukee Brewers, tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Braun reportedly tested positive on a sample he provided during the 2011 playoffs and now faces a 50-game suspension.
Braun, you might recall, tore up the Arizona Diamondbacks during the NLDS with a .500 batting average.
Like many athletes before him, Braun has vehemently denied his quilt and released a statement through a spokesman:
Ryan Braun of Milwaukee Brewers tests positive for performance-enhancing drug - ESPN
A spokesman for Braun issued a statement Saturday: "There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program. While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated."
Braun reportedly asked for a second test once he was notified of the result and that sample came up clean. He will appeal the results through the arbitration process which has yet to ever clear a baseball player who tested positive for PEDs.
Now, the question is should we believe the test or should we believe the player.
I have no idea how trustworthy Braun is and won't make any judgments about his guilt or innocence based on any perceived ideas about his character. What we know, however, from the Diana Taurasi case, is that these labs and testing systems aren't fool-proof. A positive test from lab no longer should automatically mean an assumption of guilt.
Hopefully, Braun will get the chance to clear his name and if he's innocent that will come out. If not...oh, well. He wouldn't be the first guy to cheat the system and he won't be the last.