For the first time since implementing its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in 2006, Major League Baseball has overturned a player-suspension based on a failed urine test. 30 Players, including a few repeat offenders, have been suspended for taking various banned substances. Most of these players have been aging veterans like Manny Ramirez, or virtual unknowns like JC Romero or Ronny Paulino. Most of these suspended players filed an appeal, but they all were ultimately upheld, and suspensions had been served.
Days before being awarded the 2011 National League MVP, Brewers' slugger Ryan Braun received troubling news. His recent urine sample displayed elevated synthetic testosterone levels, and he would be facing a 50 game suspension. Braun filed an appeal, but now his phenomenal offensive season which lead the Brewers into the playoffs, was tarnished, sullying the MLB brand in the process.
It gets worse.
In 2009, while speaking to the media about the Drug Prevention program, Selig mentioned Braun as being part of baseball's clean future:
"Albert Pujols is absolutely right. He has been tested since he started playing," Selig said in response to Pujols steroid questions. "So has Ryan Howard. So has Ryan Braun, Ryan Zimmerman. Since they were in the minors."
It gets worse.
Ryan Braun plays for the Milwaukee Brewers. This fact is significant because this franchise is very closely associated with MLB Commish Bud Selig. Up until 2004, Bud Selig was the principal owner of the Brew Crew. Despite selling his share of the team, Selig has maintained a close interest in the franchise that he once revived from bankruptcy. On several occasions, the commissioner has been accused of favoring his home team over the rest of the league's franchises.
So, with all of these factors, there is no way that the league would overturn its first suspension in this instance, right?
So now Ryan Braun has clearance to play the entire 2012 season. His suspension has been removed, and his MVP Trophy remains in his possession. Bud Selig and Major League Baseball stood to gain a lot by making this steroid case go away. Previous violations had been discarded as "aging superstars trying to retain their diminishing skill." But now, a young, talented, award-winning stud was threatening to reignite the steroid flame that had begun to die out.
Tell me what you think... Is this a coverup, or a legitimate exhoneration?
In the meantime, I will get Dan Bidondi on the case!
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