And Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has just become the first big leaguer to ever successfully win the public appeal of a suspension that was the result of a positive drug test. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was the first to report the news on Thursday afternoon.
Haudricourt reports that Braun won his appeal "not so much on contesting the result of the test but the testing process itself, some kind of technicality." The New York Daily News says Braun's team challenged the chain of custody that the urine sample from his October test went through.
UPDATE: According to the sources of Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, Braun's urine sample sat in a FedEx shop over the weekend, challenging the integrity of the sample. Passan's sources also report that the chain-of-custody loophole will be closed in an amendment to the league's drug-testing program.
As a result, the reigning NL MVP won't be suspended 50 games to start the season and he'll report to the team's camp in Maryvale, Ariz., on Friday with the prospect of an uninterrupted season before him.
"It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation," Braun said in a statement. "We were able to get through this because I am innocent."
As you might imagine after reading Haudricourt's report, Major League Baseball isn't too happy with having its drug test system questioned and exposed. In the wake of the third-party arbitrator's decision, the league issued a release saying as much.
"As a part of our drug testing program, the Commissioner's Office and the Players Association agreed to a neutral third party review for instances that are under dispute," it read. " While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das."
Of course, if the process had been respected from the start, the results of Braun's original test would have never been leaked to ESPN back in December. His appeals process would have remained confidential and we never would have had two months of Braun maintaining his innocence while others debated if he should surrender his MVP award to Matt Kemp. Braun was not afforded the same confidential process that others who have tested positive have been afforded and that remains the injustice that was at the root of this story.
But what's done is done and thankfully that third party did its job properly and ignored whatever the court of public opinion was saying or was being led to believe. That sound you heard was fantasy draft boards being rearranged across the country ...
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- Ryan Braun
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