Today, Ryan Braun’s suspension was overruled due to a “procedural error”. While many have hailed this decision as evidence that the MLB procedure for drug testing is flawed, I have a very different opinion and find people’s conclusions very disturbing. While there may be flaws in this particular case, people must be careful not to overgeneralize this. Also, the public must recognize that this doesn’t necessarily exonerate him (that goes for you too Aaron Rodgers).
Procedural errors do exist in this particular case. Whoever was supposed to send his sample to testing facility should have sent his sample on time. However, does this really change the fact at hand here? If the person was trying to taint Ryan Braun’s name and the Brewers run for that season, they kind of missed the boat (the Brewers were already knocked out of the playoffs at this point). I would find it far more suspicious had this news been released during the playoff run.
Also, my concern is that the entire procedure is being attacked for the actions of one moronic person. Yes, they should have sent the sample on time. But does this then mean that this is a regular occurrence? Do people mess up on sending samples every time they are taken? Let’s be realistic here: in all the steroid allegations that have occurred in Major League Baseball, this is really the only story of “procedural error” exonerating the player. I find it hard to believe that this isn’t just a very rare occurrence of somebody dropping the ball. Assuming most of the tests are sent on time, the system seems to be pretty effective to me (remember when people were hitting 50-60 home runs on a yearly basis?)
This is the system that we live in, where technicalities can help to prove innocent a man who may or may not be guilty. Despite the possibility of tampering, I find it just as likely that these were the true results of the test, and that whoever was supposed to send the results made an honest mistake. The fact that the test showed elevated levels of testosterone should still hold weight in this conversation. Until I hear that the guy who tampered with the test come out and admit that he did indeed add extra levels of testosterone, this case will always remain a blurry line that I refuse to take a strong side on this issue one war or another. Mr. Braun, you are not enonerated.