Despite Winning Appeal, Ryan Braun Still Guilty

Ryan Braun can cover his heart all he wants: he's still a cheater until he explains how his body produced large quantities of synthetic testosterone. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Ryan Braun is still a cheater. Whatever independent arbitrator Shyam Das might say, nothing will change Braun’s urine testing positive for synthetic testosterone, and a lot of it at that. And until someone conclusively accounts for that, Braun will remain a steroid-user, his name forever smeared with the b.s. he’s spoon-fed the media since his acquittal.

Where Did the Testosterone Come From?

Major League Baseball and Braun can argue endlessly over possibly closed FedEx stores, STD medication and whatever else each side cooks up, but that testosterone still remains. And while experts admit improper storage can affect testosterone-epitestosterone concentrations, none say it can make naturally produced testosterone look like it came from somewhere else.

Somehow a large (though not unbelievably large, it turns out) amount of testosterone got into a sample that, while perhaps a little warmer than it should have been when it arrived at the Olympic anti-doping lab in Montreal, showed no signs of tampering. It was in Braun’s body. It was in his sample.

Testimony can call into question many steps in the doping process, but it can’t refute science. The testosterone that Braun peed into a cup was not naturally produced. He took steroids. He cheated.

Braun himself has never refuted the testing result – a curiosity considering how willingly he’s refuted everything else, including a herpes rumor that can’t be killed by Braun’s words, only time. Instead, he’s focused on the time it took the sample to get to the lab, the storage and custody issues.

These arguments may have validity in court. But the MLB is not a court: it’s a private organization that’s come under heavy fire and scrutiny for its apparent complicity in baseball’s steroid-fueled 1990s. In response to that charge, baseball has set up a system wherein a player can do everything wrong and still get off scot-free. “Justice” replaces “right,” and the sport suffers all the more for it.

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Steroid Use Should Cost Ryan Braun MVP

Because of steroid use, Milwaukee's Ryan Braun should lose his MVP award, and Los Angeles' Matt Kemp should get it. (http://www.thesportsbank.net)

When you get caught cheating, you’re supposed to be punished. Copy your friend’s homework? Zero on the assignment. Run a red light to save a couple minutes? Ticket. Carry on an elicit affair? Divorce, and probably half your stuff.

Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun got caught cheating: he failed a drug test. While a 50-game suspension next season is a sizable penalty, it’s not a punishment.

Braun should lose his MVP award. That’s the punishment. Sorry, Grandma!

Some have argued that because previous MVPs who later tested positive for steroids – Ken Caminiti, Alex Rodriguez – didn’t lost their awards, and because Braun passed a subsequent drug test, he should keep his MVP.

The truth about Caminiti and Rodriguez came out years after they’d won their awards. Braun’s situation is immediate – he won the award and tested positive for steroids within a month – and it demands an immediate answer.

By allowing Braun to keep his MVP, the MLB does nothing to dispel the widely held belief that the rich and famous live by a different set of rules than the fans. The Occupy movement proves how quickly that disparity can turn to outrage, with millions of Americans summarily rejecting the federal government in favor of blind protest. A private industry such as the MLB can’t afford a similar rejection.

Continue reading Steroid Use Should Cost Ryan Braun MVP