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Braun spinning same old tired story

Chris Ruddick,
MLB Editor


Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Stop me if you have heard this before. A pro athlete tests positive for a banned substance then immediately cops to having no idea that said substance was in fact prohibited.

It's a tired tale that's been repeated far too many times, especially in the world of Major League Baseball. National League Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun appears to be the latest culprit.

On Saturday it was revealed that Braun tested positive for elevated testosterone levels, and of course people in his camp have already started the spin cycle.

"There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program," said a spokesman from the Braun camp.

"While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated."

Ryan Braun
Ryan Braun tested positive for something on the banned list. Intent does not matter.
So Ryan really wasn't trying to get an edge, he just happened to test positive something on the banned substance list for something entirely different than gaining an edge. Case closed.

Sorry bro, it doesn't work that way. And by the way, stop playing us for fools.

First of all MLB and the Players' Association have a toll-free hotline available so that players can call to have these types of questions answered. There is a DVD presentation in spring training that clearly explains that. If you really cared, you would pick up the phone and find out if what you were taking was banned.

Ignorance is not the reason Braun tested positive, arrogance is. Maybe he is innocent, but MLB players these days don't get the benefit of the doubt. They are guilty until proven innocent in my book.

There is no excuse that sticks in my craw more than the "I didn't know" card. Braun hasn't exactly gone to that well yet, but he appears to be following the cheaters playbook here, so I'm sure it's coming.

I know I have said this before, but MLB has become Shawshank Prison - not a guilty guy in there. Will there ever be a player who just comes out and says, "Yeah, you got me. I knew it was wrong, but I was trying to get an edge and got caught."

Again, Braun may in fact be innocent. Reportedly, a second test administered weeks after the first came back clean. How exactly that is relevant, I'm not quite sure, but that will be a big part of his defense in January at his appeal.

I suppose his team will argue that the levels were so high on his first test that they could bring its validity into question since he was clean weeks later. Again, page 3 of the cheater's playbook. However, it didn't work for cyclist Floyd Landis and it's not going to work for Braun.

A better bet is that they go the route of saying that he took something orally that was unknowingly tainted.

If anything that second clean test may help Team Braun win in the court of public opinion because history tells us that he won't win anywhere it really counts.

Beginning with Rafael Palmeiro in 2005, 12 cases have gone before an arbitration panel and each time the player was ordered to serve his suspension.

There's a first time for everything I guess, but Braun tested positive for something on the banned list. Intent does not matter. End of story.

See you sometime next May.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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