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Thu, Dec. 12

Editorial: MLB committed an error against Braun

Just days before spring training games were to begin, Major League Baseball's National League MVP Ryan Braun was vindicated by an arbitrator over a positive drug test. Braun avoided a 50-game suspension.

Vindicated? Sort of.

The Milwaukee Brewers' standout said his "name has been dragged through the mud," and it appears that the league's drug testing process broke down. Apparently the urine sample he provided on Oct. 1, 2011 - the day the Brewers opened the playoffs against the Arizona Diamondbacks - was not delivered to Federal Express until Oct. 3, the Associated Press reported. Baseball's drug agreement calls for samples to be delivered on the same day they are collected.

"At the end of the day the truth prevailed," Braun said. "I'm a victim of a process that completely broke down. ... (the testing was) fatally flawed. I don't honestly know what happened to it in that 44-hour period."

Truth? There it is. Reasonable doubt exists because the sample was out of officials' control for 44 hours. Braun could have been guilty or someone could have tampered with the sample resulting in the positive result.

On one hand, we tend to believe Braun, who was reportedly tested last year at least two dozen times. The last one, Oct. 1, delivered the positive for elevated testosterone - as much as three times more than any other - that was the highest ever recorded in baseball's testing program.

This scenario brings to light the fact that in MLB, players are held to a standard of 100 percent perfection regarding the program, and everybody else associated with that program should be held to the same standard, Braun told reporters.

He is right. The results, which were supposed to be private, made him 100 percent guilty until proven innocent - the opposite of the American judicial system.

Zero tolerance? That is the other hand. Braun's case - the first successful appeal of a suspension under Major League Baseball's anti-drug policy - was not necessarily that he "won because the truth (was) on my side," as he told CNN. Some will say he got off on a technicality.

It's like our judicial system in which he is now "not guilty," but he will never be truly "innocent." We will never know that and his name will forever be linked to drugs.

What remains is the fact that MLB teams play in metropolitan areas that should not depend on a courier to ship samples to Canada for testing. Plenty of labs exist that could, on a random basis, do the testing in the same city.

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