Ryan Braun reportedly tested positive for a banned substance back in 2011, and his connection to the performance-enhancing drug narrative since then has been a lot of close proximity, but no real red-handedness. He got out of a suspension that time thanks to an error in the protocol tied to managing his sample (there does not appear to have been a credible argument that the test, itself, was erroneous).
Then, a couple weeks ago, he was tied to a clinic in Miami that has been the subject of PED investigations, and a report that its main dude – Tony Bosch – has been supplying professional athletes with the juice. Braun explained that one away by noting that, when he appealed that first PED suspension, he used Bosch as an expert witness/consultant.
Well, now he’s got more to explain. According to a report from ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Braun’s name not only appears in a separate place in Bosch’s documents (an appearance that is consistent with his “he was just an expert witness” explanation), it also appears together on a page that – according to ESPN’s source – lists only guys to whom Bosch was supplying PEDs.
If that’s accurate, it’s a blackening plume of smoke heaped on top of the already smoking building of Braun’s training practices.
Through his attorneys, Braun essentially says anywhere his name appears on Bosch’s documents is because of the expert witness/consultant thing. In fact, his lawyer apparently threatened legal action against ESPN if they published this OTL report. That would be something of a convincing threat, but for what we now know about the way Lance Armstrong used the legal system. Even guilty guys aren’t above using the court system to their advantage.
Which is not to say Braun is guilty in this, or any instance. But, yeah – it looks bad. It’s always looked bad. His reputation was already tarnished, but, unless he comes up with an even better explanation this time around, folks will never look at him the same way.