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Braun over brain

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Do you remember the times when, if someone was proven innocent in court, they didn’t have to deal with constant accusations and people doubting their credibility?

No? Me neither.

But that whole cynical nature gets multiplied when you are talking about celebrities and professional athletes.

Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun made history recently when he became the first MLB player to test positive for drug use and have the ruling overturned, on what many are calling a technicality.

See, when Braun gave his sample, it wasn’t sent to the lab for two days because testing took place before the weekend—even though the MLB’s drug agreement says “the specimens should be sent by FedEx to the laboratory on the same day they are collected.”

Would two days of a sample sitting in the wrong location change the result of the test? I have no idea, but this was a rule the testers clearly did not follow.

Though Braun, last year’s National League MVP, escaped a 50-game suspension, the decision has been met with mixed reactions.

Sports columnist Paola Boivin said in an article published in the *Arizona Republic* that, “We’re losers, every one of us” because of Braun’s acquittal and what that says for future dopers.

The worst comment by far was published anonymously in the Bleacher Report by a member of the New York Mets, who said: “Ryan Braun is out there saying this shows he is innocent. Does that mean O.J. Simpson is innocent, too?”

Are we really going to compare Ryan Braun going to a court hearing and pleading his case as being remotely comparable to O.J. Simpson being accused and acquitted of murdering his wife? Is that honestly what the best comparison is?

But that’s not to say everyone in the sports world was against Braun for his case being dismissed.

Gabe Feldman, the director of the Tulane Sports Law program tweeted, “Chain of custody a technicality? It’s critical to fair drug policy, and is mentioned 33 times in the MLB drug policy.”

A friend of Braun’s, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, tweeted: “MLB and cable sports tried to sully the reputation of an innocent man, Picked the wrong guy to mess with. Truth will set u free.”

Now apparently there is even a “Ryan Braun Defence” for other athletes being charged with doping.

DJ Williams, a linebacker for the Denver Broncos, was suspended six games in to the 2012 season for his urine coming back “non-human.” His legal council is now blaming the specimen collector.

Here is the thing about all this drama and hatred over Braun becoming the first person in baseball history to overturn a doping case: the MLB has a loophole in their agreement. Is that Braun’s fault? No. That rests solely on the shoulders of the MLB. Should the MLB tighten up the legal jargon in the drug policy? Yes. But everybody needs to put it behind them; Braun was proven innocent.

People should just leave Braun alone and let him play baseball. Let’s face it: the Brewers are probably going to win the AL central without much competition—especially since the St. Louis Cardinals just lost Albert Pujols—and almost everybody will forget this ever happened.

It just really upsets me that courtroom decisions mean nothing. At one time it would be innocent until proven guilty, but now it seems you’re considered guilty regardless of the outcome. Everybody just keeps speculating and pointing the finger at Braun, but at the end of the day he was found innocent. He is still last year’s NL MVP and one of the best players in all of baseball. People are so quick to discredit all of these accomplishments because he was accused of something that was discredited in court, and I think that it’s ridiculous. He earned his accomplishments on the field and that is where people should judge him.

And just an update on Braun: his first at bat during spring training was a two-run home run. Keep that up and we will all forget this doping drama soon enough.

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Justin Hartling
Justin Hartling
Justin was an Online Editor for Volume 146 of the Gazette.

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