Ryan Braun: Guilty or Innocent?

NL MVP Ryan Braun is the first player to successfully challenge a suspension for PEDs.

There are two sides to every story, and that includes the Ryan Braun PED story.  However, we have to keep in mind that other than the people who were actually present when the two sides argued this case, no one really has any idea what happened.  Sources have said this or that, but more than likely, we'll never really know all the facts of this case.  ESPN does a great job of reporting in circumstances like this, but they weren't in the courtroom.  Other than Ryan Braun, no one is ever really going to know if he took something illegal, and we have to keep that in mind.  That being said, everyone's going to have an opinion anyway; that's just the world we live in.  Here's the way I see it.

Side 1
One side can argue that even Braun doesn't dispute the fact that there were reportedly elevated levels of testosterone found in his urine sample.  The normal ratio is 4:1 and Braun tested at 20:1.  He did not "argue evidence of tampering or dispute the science."  Does anyone really know exactly what that means?  It sounds like he's not arguing the positive test at all, right?  Apparently, Braun and his lawyers were "challenging the chain of custody and collecting procedure."   Basically, what happened was the MLB representative who collected the sample was supposed to send out said sample right away (which seems obvious, right?) but since it was late on a Saturday, he brought the sealed sample home, kept it cool, and sent it out on Monday.  MLB says that there was nothing wrong with this procedure and that its happened before.  Personally, that sounds unbelievably odd to me.  It's normal for someone to bring an MLB superstar's piss home and let it hang out for a few days in their fridge or something and then send it out a few days later?  Apparently it is, whatever.  All of this clearly makes it sound like Braun merely got off on a technicality and tested positive no matter what, which is one side of the argument.

Side 2
On the other hand, Braun doesn't look like someone who takes steroids.  He just doesn't have that kind of build.  He says all the right things in every situation.  He seems to truly respect the game, not just say he does.  He's been tested since he was in the minor leagues and has not once tested positive.  He's been tested since all of this happened, and again hasn't tested positive.  His numbers haven't increased dramatically like some people's have after they started taking performance enhancing drugs.  He really hasn't ever done anything wrong since we've known him and seems like as good of a guy as he is a player.  Aren't we supposed to assume people are innocent until proven guilty?  Well, he's just been proven innocent according to a court of law.

People are going to have their own opinions, regardless of whether or not he won this appeal.  Some will think he got off on a technicality even though he tested positive, and some will say they don't think he tested positive to begin with.  My opinion is this: Braun's never tested positive before or after this one single situation.  The circumstances surrounding the whole thing just seem weird to me.  The fact that someone brought this stuff home for a day and a half before sending it out is honestly kind of messed up.  It seems fishy.  Having said that, apparently no one is arguing the results of the test.  Whether Braun is trying to say it's someone else's test, I don't know, but he's not arguing the results nor is he apparently arguing that his test was tampered with.  I personally will never know whether or not he took any PEDs, but he never has before and hasn't since then as evidenced by all of the negative tests surrounding this one positive.  After looking at all of the evidence, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and side with Braun on this one.

And just to throw it out there, as a Brewer fan, I'm freaking psyched that he's not getting suspended for a third of the season.  Playoffs here we come, baby!

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