Ryan Braun Tests Positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs
After just recently being awarded baseball’s National League MVP – one of sports’ most prestigious honors – Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Ryan Braun tested positive for performance enhancing drugs on the latest league implemented drug test. The results showed that Braun – who has been dubbed “The Hebrew Hammer” – had been using PED’s, which have been formally banned by Major League Baseball, as they give players a competitive edge on the field.
Testing for banned substances has become standard practice for Major League Baseball players, following a decade of tainted records and in some cases, serious medical issues related to these drugs (see Ken Caminiti). After dozens of players were found to have cheated the system, following a Senate investigation in Washington, controversy arose regarding long standing baseball records that had been shattered by steroid users, generating a storm of passionate debate as to whether or not these statistics should be officially recognized by the league and the Baseball Hall Of Fame.
Since the Senate report (dubbed The Mitchell Report) was submitted to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig back in 2007, the league has remained relatively clean.
This very fact makes the recent discovery of Ryan Braun’s drug test results even more bizarre and inexplicable.
Braun batted with a .332 average this season, including 33 home runs and 111 RBI’s; helped lead the Brewers to their first Central Division title since 1982, and had one of his most productive years as a big leaguer (although it should be noted he has had better power numbers in the past). Braun became the first Jewish baseball player to receive the MVP award since Sandy Koufax back in 1963.
In an article published by ESPN, a Braun Spokesperson responded to the allegations; “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.” He then added “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.”
Braun’s agent added his thoughts: “He is an amazing person with an incredible soul. Ryan has earned everything that has happened to him being diligent, dedicated and committed. The most admirable thing I find is the integrity he displayed not only in his professional career, but in his personal life.”
The allegations facing Braun have yet to be confirmed as fact and until then no penalties can be handed out. The current response from Major League Baseball for first time offenders is a fifty game suspension, which would force Braun to sit out more than a quarter of the 2012 season.