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Ryan Braun, Drug Testing, and Integrity (or the lack there of)

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bill-swift - February 28, 2012

When the news broke that Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and reigning National League MVP Ryan Braun won his appeal, fantasy baseball gurus around the world breathed a sigh of relief. Trying to value a player of his caliber (PED powered or not) was a bit difficult; when he plays he'll be a stud, but if he doesn't for 50 games…

Well, that question does not need to have an answer to it now. Why? Because some yutz took the sample home rather than mail at the earliest possible time like he was supposed to. Could he have switched the sample? Might it have been contaminated? Was Braun guilty of using PEDs when he hit .332, knocked in 111 RBIs, nailed 33 home runs, and stole 33 bases?

It's telling that Braun has not denied using them, but since he's suspension free it doesn't matter anymore. The integrity of the testing process was put under question, and in the process the integrity of the game has been damaged.

This sort of thing could set one heck of a precedent. Other players facing a 50-game suspension could challenge the results, and if the testing process was not followed to the letter they'll get off clean and free.

Some guys might benefit from this, but there are some cases where even the most fouled up drug testing would not (or at least should not) help these fools:

Elijah Dukes, last with Washington Nationals/Newark Bears: Ah Dukes. At one time he was a hot prospect, but drugs and anger issues derailed what could have been a promising career. On February 23, 2012, he was arrested trying to eat a bag of pot with a blunt tucked in behind his ear. Now that he's an aspiring rapper I guess he needed a larger, more diverse rap sheet in order to fit in.

Jordan Schafer, Houston Astros: Maybe he was a little depressed over the fact that he plays for a team as bad as the Astros. That could explain why he apparently didn't care when he rolled up next to a cop in Tampa last October, joint in hand, and didn't bother to hide it or deny anything. On a bright note, should marijuana ever be legalized the guys at Reese's might be interested in his marijuana peanut butter cups.

Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants: Can you look at Tim Lincecum and not think ‘pot smoker?' I think not. When he got busted in 2009 after getting pulled over for speeding he didn't even bother to hide it; he just handed the cops his weed. Could it be because he was a two-time Cy Young winner that he never got in much trouble?

Dmitri Young, last with Detroit Tigers/Washington Nationals: I'd be willing to bet that poor Dmitri was the kind in elementary school that honesty thought that the teacher would believe him if he said that his dog ate his homework. After getting busted with pot in an Indiana airport in 2010 he used the "I'm depressed because a relative just died' excuse. Since that didn't work he thought he'd try "It's medicinal" when he got busted later that year in Florida (they didn't buy it either).

Randy J Fenimore, St. Helens HS Baseball: Yes, this guy is just a high school baseball coach, but his tale is one that is too good to go untold. Apparently the 23-year old coach found a heck of a way to bond with and motivate his players—he supplied them with pot. I'm not sure what is worse—pro players thinking that they can get away with because they are pro players or a high school coach that actually thought his kids could keep their mouths shut!

Article by Travis Pulver

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