Ryan Braun is innocent - at least that is the official
conclusion - but this story is far from over because Major League Baseball (MLB)
is dropping the ball.
Ask any baseball fan in my generation: growing up in the
steroids era has been tough. Baseball is such a nostalgic
sport; records are spoken of with reverence. However,
steroids have interjected an inevitable skepticism into the fan's
The MLB has completely mishandled the "Steroids Era". Ryan
Braun's victory in the appeals process shows that the drug testing
process isn't perfect, and thus, MLB has lost all credibility when
it comes to drug testing. As a result, all previous offenders of
the steroid policy can now question their supposed guilt.
Were their samples also mishandled? This disaster could have
easily been avoided if the MLB had kept Braun's positive test
private. Instead, the news leaked that MLB was investigating
the National League (NL) Most Valuable Player for cheating during
the season that he won the award. Now, everyone is
questioning the validity of these tests.
Furthermore, MLB was scooped by a 16 year old high school student. With
very little investigative journalism (by his own admission), the
student was able to come to the conclusion that Braun's sample was
improperly handled and thus Braun's suspension could not be
upheld. How could the MLB allow this to happen? The
news never should have gotten out that Braun had tested positive,
but once it had, the MLB had to establish themselves as
transparent, trustworthy, and on top of the evolving crisis.
Instead, they were caught napping.
Finally, the MLB's follow-up with Braun and the media has given
the story more legs. They have alienated one of their star players
and he's out for blood, calling the system "fatally flawed." And, rather than
reeling in one of their star athletes, MLB is further pushing him
away with statements, like MLB executive vice president Rob
Manfred who said management "vehemently disagrees" with the decision
to not suspend Braun. Now, more than ever, the MLB needs to
circle its wagons around Braun to make sure that his complaints are
heard in a private setting so that he doesn't feel the need to lash
out at Major League Baseball in the media.
More than two years ago when
Bud Selig declared that the Steroids Era was over, he was
sorely mistaken. Unfortunately, it looks like the perception
that steroids in professional baseball is not going away anytime
soon and Major League Baseball is making sure of that.
By Ben Levine, Account Coordinator, Solomon McCown &