Braun Speaks Out About Drug Test Being Overturned
National League MVP Ryan Braun reported to spring training with the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, a day after his 50-game suspension for a positive drug test was overturned by an arbitrator.
The Brewers star held a news conference on Thursday afternoon to refute the accusations and rumors that he said threatened to besmirch his reputation. Braun said during the half-hour news conference that truth was on his side
“My name has been dragged through the mud,” he said.
Braun said that the test results cast a dark cloud over much of his life and reputation.
“This is my livelihood, this is my integrity, this is my character,” he said. “This is everything I’ve worked for in my life being called into question.”
Braun criticized the media for leaks of the positive test, saying that for the person accused, it means, “You’re 100 percent guilty until proven innocent.” But, he said, “At the end of the day, the truth prevailed.”
He said, “I would bet my life the substance never entered my body at any point.”
Braun tested positive in October for elevated testosterone, but he pointed out that he didn’t gain any weight or get any faster during the season. He said documented tests proved those facts.
He also said that he questioned the validity of the test as soon as he got the results that showed testosterone levels three times higher than anyone else in MLB had ever tested.
Braun’s appeal to lift the suspension was granted because the arbitrator the process of the positive test was flawed. The person in charge of getting the urine sample to a Fed Ex store for delivery to the testing facility in Canada for some reason took the sample home for the weekend before getting it delivered. Thus, some argued that the chain of custody was broken, WISC-TV reported.
Braun also argued for changes to the testing system.
“We need to make sure that we get it right. If you’re going to be in a position where you’re 100 percent guilty until proven innocent, you can’t mess up. And today’s about making sure that this never happens to anybody else who plays this game,” he said.
Braun arrived at the Milwaukee Brewers’ facility at about 9:40 a.m. Friday, walking through the complex’s front doors to avoid reporters and camera crews waiting in back at the clubhouse entrance.
Braun kissed his girlfriend before joining his teammates, many of whom had wondered whether he would have to serve the suspension. Braun’s teammates sat in the stands, in uniform, as he spoke to the media on the field at the team’s spring training complex in Arizona.
Braun said that while he feels vindicated by the arbitrator’s decision, he knows questions will linger.
“I’m not dumb enough to pretend this is going to go away,” he said. “I recognize that this is going to be a challenge that I’ll have to face for a while.. I’m innocent. I’ve maintained my innocence from day one and ultimately, I was proven to be innocent.”
As a result of the arbitrator’s decision, the Brewers will have their star player available for the entire season barring any more legal action that some think could still come from Major League Baseball officials.
But for now, it’s back to baseball and the Brewers have to deal with the after effects of what’s gone on the last three months.
“Anytime one of your leaders is questioned a little bit, I think it changes the way guys feel and with the outcome, yeah, hopefully it makes that group a little tighter,” said manager Ron Roenicke.
Braun, who hit 332 with 33 homers and 111 RBIs last year, is the first Major League Baseball player to have his suspension lifted by an arbitrator for a drug-related penalty.
The Brewers hold their first full-squad workout on Saturday.