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Brewers' MVP Ryan Braun dodges drug suspension

Steve_Schar_02-24_optBY DAVE RAGAZZO
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

After hearing that National League MVP Ryan Braun was going to be suspended for the first 50 games of the 2012 season, Brewers fans must have been worried.  To add to their agony, their star first baseman Prince Fielder left for Detroit shortly after the news of Braun’s suspension.

On Thursday however, those worried fans were able to take a sigh of relief after Braun won his appeal for his positive test for elevated levels of testosterone.

“I am very pleased and relieved by today’s decision,” Braun said in a statement.  “It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation.  We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.”

The decision was handed down by baseball arbitrator Shyam Das.  Das, who has been an independent arbitrator for MLB since 2000, has 30 days to give a written opinion on the matter.

Braun’s failed drug test occurred in October, right as the Brewers were playing in the first round of the playoffs.  After his sample was collected on Saturday Oct. 1, it was stored in a refrigerator of one of the drug administrator’s home for the weekend.

Proper protocol states that any sample must be sent to the drug testing lab on the same day.

The decision to reinstate Braun has sent the baseball world into a whirlwind, and everyone seems to be adding their two cents to the decision.

According to MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred, baseball’s higher ups "vehemently disagree" with Das' decision.

Chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Travis Tygart said that the decision was "a real gut-kick to clean athletes."

"To have this sort of technicality of all technicalities let a player off,” Tygart added.  “It's just a sad day for all the clean players and those that abide by the rules within professional baseball."

Others however are siding with Braun and feel that the appeal is a step in the right direction for the players.  Brewers chairman and principal owner Mark Attanasio was quick to come to the defense in his star player, who will now have full opportunity to defend his NL MVP title.

"Since joining our organization in 2005, Ryan Braun has been a model citizen and a person of character and integrity," Attanasio said in a statement. "Knowing Ryan as I do, I always believed he would succeed in his appeal.

Former teammate and current Los Angeles Angels reliever Latroy Hawkins chimed in with his opinion on Thursday.  He noted that it will help other players in the future who are appealing suspensions.

"MLB has got to be crushed, but I was so happy for him," Hawkins said. "This opens the door now for other guys filing an appeal. It's a solid victory for the players."

 

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