So we all know that Ryan Braun was reported to have failed a drug test last year. Apparently his urine sample was collected on October 1, 2011, but was not mailed out until 44 hours later, which according to MLB's bylaws made the sample invalid.
According to MLB, a urine sample has to be mailed within 24 hours of collection otherwise the sample is not suitable for testing. So according to those rules laid down by MLB, the arbitrator handling Braun's suspension was absolutely 100% justified in overturning the 50 game suspension Braun received as a result of the failed test.
Basically there's a system in place that is there to prevent any type of questions being raised regarding the authenticity of the urine, and MLB's people did not follow protocol so the case is basically dismissed and Braun's season will go on as if he never produced a sample indicating extremely high levels of testosterone.
Was it the right call by the arbitrator? Of course it was. He gave the issue due process and ultimately made the right call. Regardless of the evidence pointing towards Braun's guilt, the arbitrator made the correct decision in throwing out the suspension.
But... that doesn't mean Braun is in the clear in all regards.
For one thing, there is significant evidence pointing to Braun's guilt in this matter. For example, his testosterone levels were extraordinarily high. Now some of you might buy Braun's theory of tampering, but there is NO reason to believe anything of that sort.
The urine receptacle had three tamper-proof seals on it, and all were intact when Braun's sample was delivered.
Also although MLB requires the sample to be mailed within 24 hours of collection, that is actually an unusual law. For example, the US Anti-Doping Agency has no problem with the way Braun's sample was collected and stored, and if MLB had implemented the USADA's rules and regulations Braun would still be serving a 50-game suspension.
For another thing, Braun has been letting us know that he was confident all along that he would be exonerated and said he was "proven to be innocent".
I call BS. He was NOT proven innocent. He was let off on a technicality; a technicality that will most certainly force MLB to review and revise their regulations concerning collection and storage of urine samples.
As I saw a sports writer say in a different forum, what happened with Braun was the equivalent of a drug dealer being caught with hard evidence but ultimately having his case dismissed due to the arresting officers forgetting to read the perp his Miranda Rights.
So in summary, yes, Braun's overturned suspension was the correct end result based off due process.
But to say that this clears his name or proves his innocence is lunacy.
The man failed a drug test but is not being punished due to improper sample handling. But it still looks bad; it still looks like he got away with cheating. And most likely he did. Unfortunately we'll never know for certain because the evidence was mishandled, but there will forever be an asterisk next to Braun's name in the record books, and fans will always have that doubt in their minds when pondering Braun's place in MLB history. Just imagine... if Braun only hits 15-20 homeruns next season, many people are going to start wondering if it's because he no longer has a little extra something giving him the upper hand. This issue will never go away; ever.
It's just an assumption on my part, but it definitely looks like Braun got away with cheating and at this point the least he could do is stop telling us how the system "proved his innocence".
And that, my friends, is all.