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Well, it’s never happened before, so why not have the first time be a reigning MVP and poster boy for clean play?

Today a three-person arbitration panel voted 2-1 in favor of Ryan Braun, who was appealing a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. No MLB player before has successfully appealed a banned-substance suspension.

The victory, which, according to Tom Haudricourt, came on the strength of a technical flaw in the testing process, apparently upset MLB quite a bit. A statement on the decision from MLB VP Rob Manfred, who was on the panel together with MLBPA Director Michael Weiner and independent arbitrator Shyam Das:

“Major League Baseball considers the obligations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program essential to the integrity of our game, our Clubs and all of the players who take the field. It has always been Major League Baseball’s position that no matter who tests positive, we will exhaust all avenues in pursuit of the appropriate discipline. We have been true to that position in every instance, because baseball fans deserve nothing less.

“As a part of our drug testing program, the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association agreed to a neutral third party review for instances that are under dispute. While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”

We’ll probably never know the whole story, but, in any case, Braun will now be with the Brewers for the entirety of the 2012 season.

Braun also released a statement on the decision. In part, it reads:

“I am very pleased and relieved by today’s decision.

“It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.

“We provided complete cooperation throughout, despite the highly unusual circumstances.

“I have been an open book, willing to share details from every aspect of my life as part of this investigation, because I have nothing to hide. I have passed over 25 drug tests in my career, including at least three in the past year.

“I would like to thank my family and friends, my teammates, the Brewers organization led by Mark Attanasio, Doug Melvin, Gord Ash and Ron Roenicke, and other players around the league who have expressed their support and our great fans in Milwaukee and around the country who stuck by me and did not rush to judgment.

UPDATE: Karl Ravech reports that the “technicality” on which Braun won is as follows – a courier, who was supposed to deliver a positive test (already packaged up) to a Federal Express building on a Saturday evening, decided to wait until Monday morning to make his delivery, believing that the building might be closed. So, it’s a chain of custody thing. Chain of custody rules exist for a reason, and they are legit. I leave it to you, however, to evaluate whether that means Braun did or didn’t test positive.

  • Andrew

    Boy would it suck for the guy that took it to the FedEx a couple days late. Wouldn’t it suck if he lost his job over this but Braun doesn’t

    • TWC

      Yeah, especially if he’s a Cubs fan.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yup.

      • Caleb

        You’re not a lawyer anymore- you can admit that, in many instances, chain of custody concerns are far outweighed by basic justice. Note, for example, how attorney-client privilege (an important cog of the legal system) is often superseded by greater concerns of justice. See: Nixon (overriding the executive privilege) or in re Lindsey (holding the privilege inapplicable to public officials and attorneys in the context of grand jury investigations). I argue that the integrity of baseball is even more important than the president or a governor. Go cubs.

  • Cheryl

    I don’t know if Braun is guilty or not but Eric is right. This will sour fans on the game. They already resent the huge salaries. Now they’ll think that there’s no fairness in the process and the rich guy gets off. Braun will not be exonerated by the fans. He’ll be exonerated by the powers that be. We can argue that technicalities are there for a reason, but that doesn’t change the perception that he got off on a technicality.

  • Cheryl

    P.S.: It would be interesting to know how many on BN thought he’d get off.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I didn’t think he would.

  • chris

    The arbitrators voted 2-1 to overturn the suspension on the process by which the POSITIVE test was transported in the chain of command. They did NOT rule that the test itself was wrong. Braun tested Positive. Period. How about that lone arbitrator who voted to uphold the suspension? This was not a consensus vote which is going to really hurt Braun. In every ballpark other than Miller Park, the boo birds will be out in full force. I would hesitate to pay big money in your draft for Braun because he is going to have on rough year. Karma…..

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    So Selig is from the Brewers,
    Braun screws up………..and gets off.
    Oh, I get it. (wink)

  • http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTfpKusbwM46tWfC3kTD5r6JYMvG_f4OxZ-voxW64SdCeMHq8J5 Coach Harris

    I could not agree more bluekoolaidaholic.

    I like how Bud Selig is supposedly (vehemently disagrees) so upset over this ruling. Sure…I bet he is really upset that Ryan Braun will now be able to play the entire season for his beloved Brewers.

    What a joke.

  • rocky8263

    C’mon the positive test was not a mistake.It showed a crazy high tetesterone level and Braun and Bud together with the expensive lawyers found a solution for their golden boy. The number of tests he passed means nothing. How bout all the PED’s he took and was never tested for? Ask any cop, even if a bad guy is innocent and arrested falsely how many crimes did they commit and were never caught? I will always look at Braun as a cheater. I’m not much of a sign maker but I think I can put something together for that first Brewers series.

  • 2much2say

    LIars always lie. Why would Braun admit it? There isn’t an either or, admit it and he’s ruined for life, FOR LIFE (heavy), or lie and succeed. Feel bad for the kids.

  • 2much2say

    We can only hope he gets the Barry Bonds treatment for the remainder of his career. Based on other cheaters his stats should drop dramatically.

  • jim

    Brett, u r a journalist. And, once an lawyer… But, we need more cubbie commentary! Stream of consciousness stuff would be fine.

  • Richard Nose

    I’m having a hard time taking all this talk about Braun ‘getting off’ seriously. I have a mental illness.

  • Ajbearsfan

    I hear he was taking meds for an STD that caused him to fail….(insert awkward face here)

  • Doc Evans

    Being from, and living in Wisconsin, this situation is especially disheartening to me. Here I am a Cubs fan, and the Brewers make it to the NLCS in 2011 to play against the only team I HATE more than them, the Cardinals. I am also a Bears fan, and I had to sit with 30 Packers fans as they beat the Bears in the NFC championship to go onto the Super Bowl (and win, naturally). Then there is my favorite college team, the University of Illinois, who, after hot starts in football and basketball, choked away their seasons, while Wisconsin went on to play in the Rose Bowl and their hoops team is in the top 4 of the B1G. Basically what I am trying to say is that the state of Wisconsin has had a horseshoe up their ass for 3 years.

    On a related topic, screw Braun. Never liked him. He comes across as arrogant; even before this situation.

    I hope some frustrated state of Illinois fans can relate with my statements.

    Rant over.

  • Spencer

    At least now I can take my “Ryan Braun has herpes” signs with me to Wrigley this season.

    • TWC

      Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease take pictures.

    • ferrets_bueller

      “Herpes! Hammer! Herpes! Hammer!!!”

  • Reality Check

    Braun has herpes.. Aaaaaahaaaaaahahaha!! Best sign ever!!

  • Ajbearsfan

    Sooooo a sign in downtown Milwaukee with his face with a bewildered awkward look that reads ” got herpes?” should so be put up!

  • Ajbearsfan

    Well doc Evans I can relate to that rant! I’m a bears, cubs, Blackhawks, notre dame,bulls, fan that now lives 70 miles from STL and totally feel your pain!! Here’s to a better year for the cubbies!

    On a side note does anyone remember a long time ago when either McDonald’s or burger king sold these little ear radios where you could listen to cubs games? They should bring those back!

  • Curt

    I’m no Milton Bradley fan but if we’re him wanna take odds tht he got off hmmm seems a little fishy.

  • http://bleachernation.com Butch Cub

    A good lawyer can get you out of anything….. remember O.J.?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I won’t say anything about OJ, specifically, but I will say this: everyone wants to rip on lawyers until they need one.

      • AP

        There are always bad eggs in every profession unfortunately, given our adversarial system, there’s always a “good” lawyer and a “bad” lawyer in every case. By that I mean one side is going to lose and one side is going to win and whichever side loses thinks his lawyer is the worst person on earth. I’m jokingly referred to in my family as the “evil banker, lawyer, accountant, son”, but everyone sure loves picking my brain.

  • Brian

    How does the drug process work? Does the sample get taken, then OMG it registers 2x the level of human testos., then get sent for a followup? Or, the sample that didn’t get delivered on Sat. night, is the one that showed 2x the amount, which triggered the inquiry?

  • Doug

    True. Police Officers as well.

  • Brian

    This brings to mind, a picture of an innocent little kitty with a bird feather sticking out of their mouth, sitting next to the empty bird cage, but the kitty can’t be blamed because you may have forgotten to latch the cage.

  • http://bleachernation.com Butch Cub

    Whatever happened to just telling the truth?

    • DocWimsey

      If the truth is that it was herpes medication, then I can think of a bunch of reasons why he’s not sharing with the world…..

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    I honestly do not care about PED’s.
    I don’t get all the outrage about it.
    There is an ADHD “epidemic” in baseball and everyone is popping Ritalin…but that’s OK?
    Isn’t laser eye surgery a performance enhancer for someone who would be blind as a bat? Is correcting his eye sight to BETTER than 20/20 an unfair advantage over a player that is *just* 20/20?
    Aren’t cortisone shots performance enhancing; allowing the player to play through something he otherwise wouldn’t be able to without the C-shot?

  • gritsngravy

    The fact is is Ryan Braun is the poster boy for mlb right now. He is young and looks like an all american guy. MLB may act like they are upset that he got off of a positive test but they are not. The truth is if he does not get off on a technicality it looks bad on mlb. I am not a conspiracy kind of guy but how does it look to the mlb business with a vacant spot in the trophy case for 2011 mvp because of ped’s. Think about it. I think that if he finishes second behind kemp or fielder then this is not reversed and he sits 50 games. His name is tarnished in my book and he is a cheater.

    • die hard

      May be right as to rationale. What I cant make sense of his “non denial” denial made famous in the Watergate scandal. Did he take something or not? If he did was it a banned substance. If so, then its irrelevant why he took it. If an expert testified that the chain of custody would not change the results, then he is guilty under zero tolerance. But even if chain of custody was compromised, if he admitted taking something that was banned isnt that proof enough? I recall him first saying he took something. Then he clammed up. I raised the Pete Rose analogy yesterday because wasnt he banned after admitting gambling even though no proof he bet against his team? I guess Pete was not liked as much because he played like Ty Cobb, spikes first. Braun is the face of the league as of now and loved by all at least for now.

  • Matt

    I guess when drug tests are usually argued it is a case of chain of custody disputes.

    Well, whoever it was messed this up, plain and simple. I do, however, wonder if it would create any difference in the testosterone levels of the sample. Chemistry was never a strong class for me, so I really have no idea.

  • Richard Nose

    [Ed. – Whoa, whoa, whoa. Where did that come from? That will not fly.]

    • Katie

      Um…what?!

    • Brian

      Thought crap like this was out of the system, esp. after last few days!

      • MichiganGoat

        Nope staying classy is ALWAYS present.

        • Bric

          Come on Goat, you can’t leave us hanging like that? Either tell us what he said or don;t respond at all. We don’t have a Youtube to go to read the comment that was deleted. Or at least just tell me what pertained to.

          • TWC

            anti-Semitic blather

      • hardtop

        by system, do you mean BN or society.  Apparently both are subject to infection.

        You would think the mindless fools that perpetuate this kind of garbage would have easily been extinguished decades ago, simple application of “survival of the fittest”.  yet some how they have defied science and continue to exist somewhere deep in the ass crack of society, peaking their heads, or in this case, their nose, out every once in awhile, to remind us all just how disgusting they really are.

    • ogyu

      Very nice, Richard. Mind if we call you dick?

  • Toby

    OJ was found innocent on a technicality as well.

    I find it odd that Braun feels entitled to proclaim innocence simply because a package sat in a refrigerator for 36 hours or so instead of a non-climate controlled environment.

    • brittney

      Toby-I totally agree with your statement. I think he is 100% guilty! He got off on something that in my opinion didn’t make a bit of difference in the test. He (and his agent/lawyers) attacked the process/system. Similar to how some criminals attack the victim/system in order to raise resonable doubt to get off

      • Toosh

        Here’s hoping Castro isn’t tried and convicted in the same court of public opinion as Braun has been.

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