Set to appeal, Braun faces tough odds
Brewers star's hearing before panel scheduled for January
Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is intent on appealing his case while facing suspension for a positive drug test. Braun will attempt to be the first player to overturn a positive test when his case comes before a three-person panel in January, a source told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
The panel will be comprised of one representative from the Major League Baseball Players Association, a representative from the Commissioner's Office and longtime MLB arbitrator Shyam Das, who will essentially cast the tiebreaking and decisive vote.
Braun's lawyer, David Cornwell, said in a text to the Journal-Sentinel that "any report that Ryan ingested a performance-enhancing drug is wrong." The 28-year-old Braun told USA Today of the test result, "It's B.S."
According to the Journal-Sentinel, there have been 12 cases to go before arbitration (Rafael Palmeiro's was the first, in 2005) since the current drug program was set in place in '04, and each time, the player has been ordered to serve his suspension.
On Tuesday, MLB Players Association executive director Michael Weiner issued a statement in response to the pending suspension. It read:
"Our Joint Drug Agreement is designed to protect a player from a rush to judgment before he can challenge a reported positive test result. Fairness dictates that Ryan Braun be treated no differently. I urge all to reserve judgment on this matter until the JDA's process has played itself out."
As a first-time offender, Braun would face a 50-game suspension. ESPN.com first reported the positive test on Saturday.
Braun's suspension, during which he would not be paid, would begin at the start of the 2012 season. Both sides have been asked to refrain from making public comments during the arbitration process.
The Journal-Sentinel story reports that Braun's urine test -- one of two random drug tests each player on a team's 40-man roster is required to take during the year -- from October came back positive a few weeks later. Braun asked for the test to be repeated, and it returned "normal," but the time lapse may be a factor in the outfielder's quest to appeal.
According to the report, a source says that Braun's defense team will argue that the outfielder's positive first test had such high levels of detected testosterone that it may be invalid. And because Braun's follow-up test was normal a couple of weeks later, Cornwell could argue that such a high level of testosterone could not have completely dissipated by then.
The source also said that Braun's attorney may also point out that Braun had passed every test since being a first-round Draft pick in 2005 and wouldn't suddenly decide to cheat after years of All-Star play.
ESPN.com reported on Saturday that it was a performance-enhancing drug that triggered the failed test, given as part of MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Policy. On Sunday, however, a source familiar with the situation told MLB.com that it was not a performance-enhancing drug that led to the violation.
"It was not a PED, drug or steroid of any kind," the source wrote in a text message. "And there has never been a result like this in the history of the [MLB drug testing] program."