Friday, February 24, 2012

A Guilty Man Walks Free

     A guilty athlete walks into a courtroom, and everyone thinks, no, everyone KNOWS, he's guilty, yet he walks free. Sounds familiar, right? And the most surprising of all, this athlete isn't OJ Simpson. He's Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. He tore through the 2011 season, hitting over 30 home runs and stealing over 30 bases, eventually winning the MVP over the Dodger's Matt Kemp, whom I think was the more deserving candidate (Kemp had more hits, home runs, stolen bases, runs batted in, and walks, so pretty much every category that mattered). However, after a drug test, Braun was found to have a 20:1 testosterone ratio, a clear sign that he was doping throughout the season, and to top it all of, the testosterone was synthetic, so it was impossible for him to claim it was natural or even caused by medicine, as no prescription can exponentially increase testosterone levels as astronomically high as his were. He was sentenced to serve a 50 game suspension by Major League Baseball, and he said he would fight the suspension in court.
     The Brewers were fully expecting to go the aforementioned first 50 games of the season, and were prepared to do so, but Braun kept promising he'd get the suspension lifted. Nobody questioned the validity of the results, only the way they were retrieved. In the trial to get the suspension lifted, Ryan Braun never, ever, said he wasn't guilty. He even agreed that the urine had sky-high testosterone levels.

     He went to trial, and instead of arguing that there was a reasonable explanation for having more testosterone than normal, such as a side effect of prescription drugs or tainted food, he argued that the sample wasn't shipped on time. Instead of being shipped immediately after testing due to the fact the local FedEx was closed, it was stored in a refrigerator and then shipped a day later. Testing by the World Anti-Doping Association has shown that the brief time in the fridge has no effect whatsoever on increasing testosterone or even tainting the results of a urine sample test at all, so Braun's entire argument was built on a technicality. Still, the technicality was an exception, and Ryan Braun was reinstated and the penalty was removed. The MLB has released a statement claiming it "Vehemently disagrees," with the findings, but it is now out of their hands. Braun found a loophole. It doesn't matter though, his name will always be sullied as the one that got away, the OJ Simpson of baseball doping, and most importantly, the guilty man who walks away free.

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  1. You're definitely right, Billy, I think it's pathetic how just because you're famous you're a little less accountable to the law than everyone else. It's a good sigh as to the direction our country is heading with unfair laws and unequal protection under them, unlike as our founding fathers intended. Keep up the good work.

  2. I think there is a world of difference between doping up on T, and murder. I rather think the comparison is a little disrespectful to the victims.
    Saying that, when procedures are not followed there is a chance of tampering etc., which did not happen in this case, but that is why there are procedures. Why did they wait for FedEx? Why did they not hire an overnight courier? Somebody dropped the ball (no pun intended) which left the door open. Did they honestly think someone unethical enough to dope up is not going to take advantage of any procedural violations? He has no honor, so everyone knows it. I'm sure it does not bother him as he counts his millions.

    1. I actually think the comparison is fair, not in the sense of the severity of the crimes, but in the sense that people have are less liable to the law because of their social standing, and I believe that is a fair point to make. I don't believe he was saying it was the same as murder in any way.

  3. The sample had to be shipped by FedEx because of a clause in the CBA, I think it's a stupid rule, but it was signed regardless.