A host of free agency signings has meant baseball’s been in the headlines quite a bit the last week or so, especially with the LA Angels signing Albert Pujols to a $254 million contract. However, the publicity was all negative on Dec. 10 when it was reported that 2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers had failed a drug test.
The 28-year-old Braun helped Milwaukee to a franchise-best 96 regular season wins in 2011 along with the National League Central title, which was their first since moving from the American League in 1998 and their first overall title since back in 1982. Braun hit 33 home runs and 111 RBI and batted .332. He also stole 33 bases and beat out Matt Kemp of the Dodgers in the MVP voting. Braun was selected by the Brewers in the first round in 2005 and was named 2007’s rookie of the year. He’s also won four Silver Slugger Awards and played in four all-star games. His career stats are 161 home runs along with 531 RBI and a batting average of .312.
There have been contradicting reports though as to what caused the outfielder to test positive. ESPN said he failed due to a performance-enhancing drug (PED), but other sources said that wasn’t the case, that something else triggered the reading. It’s believed Braun underwent a urine test in October during the playoffs and it showed that his testosterone level was high enough to result in a positive test. Another test was taken, which showed the high level was caused by a synthetic substance.
The confusion at the moment is whether or not he was using a PED. But either way, whatever it was in his system is a violation of Major League Baseball’s steroid-testing policy. If he’s found guilty, he’ll be suspended for 50 games for violating the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Policy. At the moment, Braun said he’s appealing the test results and requested to take the test again. He’s keeping mum on the subject for the time being until more results and information can be gathered. MLB Players’ Association and MLB officials aren’t making any comments either.
The only person doing any official talking about the incident was one of Braun’s spokesmen. He released a statement which said the there’s some unusual circumstances in the case and Braun in no way intentionally violated the drug policy. He added that Braun will eventually be found not guilty when all of the information is gathered.
Also, Mark Attanasio, owner of the Brewers, said that MLB hasn’t contacted the club regarding Braun’s test results, and Braun deserves the right to appeal it before he should be judged. He said he supports MLB’s drug-testing program and its process of review and feels people shouldn’t jump to any conclusions or speculation until all of the facts are in.
In the meantime, his full support is with Braun. But he made it clear that he’s against prohibited substances because of the negative effects they can have on a person’s life and body. He said he supports drug testing because it’s the right thing to do, not just because it’s MLB policy.