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Victor Conte not buying Ryan Braun’s story

Whether or not you believe Ryan Braun’s bold declaration of innocence Friday is up to you. But if you’re one of the nearly 4,000 followers of BALCO founder Victor Conte on Twitter, you’ll know he isn’t buying it. Since an arbitrator on Thursday overturned the reigning NL MVP’s 50-game suspension, Conte hasn’t stopped tweeting his doubt over Braun’s innocence.

Here are a few highlights:

“My opinion. Braun used testosterone. Urine & result are valid. Source claim ‘insanely high.’ Untrue. Only 20 to1 T/E ratio. Others 80 to 1″

“Dopey users and dopey testers. Two failed IQ tests”

“My Opinion. Braun’s people are blowing smoke. Both A & B sample positive w/ CIR (carbon isotope ratio) confirmation. MLB ‘flawed’ technical policy will change soon”

“My opinion. Floyd Landis case like Braun case. A & B samples w/ elevated T/E ratio. CIR confirms “synthetic” testosterone. Lots of smoke”

“The WADA (World Anti-Doping Association) Director said the integrity of Braun’s urine sample had NOT been compromised and WADA would have found him positive. An MLB bad.”

“My opinion. Braun’s positive drug test for testosterone was not overturned. Simply a procedure error was made by MLB. Braun tested positive”

Conte was sentenced to four months in prison for his role with BALCO, so it’s hard to take him seriously when he’s trying to be the moral police, as he is here. Especially so with that last tweet, which, as Eye on Baseball points out, isn’t even an opinion; it’s fact.

Truth is, we might not ever know for certain whether Braun actually cheated, given his appeal was focused on the testing process rather than the actual result. Conte’s tweets are another reminder that Braun winning the arbitration hearing does not mean he never used performance-enhancing drugs. The question is: Do you believe Braun used and just happened to get off, and do you value the analysis of an ex-con like Conte?

Aaron Rodgers celebrates Ryan Braun winning appeal, tells MLB to eat crow

Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Braun have a lot in common and have formed a strong friendship because of their similarities. Both men are talented yet cocky athletes from California now winning MVPs for Wisconsin teams. Rodgers has called Braun his best athlete friend, and Braun has done Rodgers’ championship belt celebration after getting a hit during a game.

When news of Braun’s positive drug test emerged, Rodgers defended his friend. After the suspension was overturned, Rodgers began celebrating.

At first came a tweet that said “exonerated.”

Rodgers was just getting going. Next came a barrage of tweets calling out media outlets and MLB.

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Ryan Braun reportedly won appeal because sample was delivered to lab two days late

Although Brewers slugger Ryan Braun will not be suspended for a positive drug test, winning the arbitration case does not necessarily mean he’s innocent. From what we know, the positive drug test for elevated levels of testosterone may have been legitimate. Braun may have only won the appeal because his lawyer cast enough doubt about the test to the three-person arbitration panel.

Several media sources are reporting that Braun won the arbitration case thanks to a technicality.

Tom Haudricourt wrote that Braun won the appeal not because they contested the positive test, but because of the testing process.

Karl Ravech explained the issue in greater detail, saying a source told him “the courier who was supposed to deliver a positive sample to a Federal Express building on a Saturday evening decided not to because he thought that building might be closed. He takes it home with him until Monday morning, leaves it intact, brings it back to the Federal Express building, sends it off, but those 36-48 hours is the loophole that allowed Braun to get off.”

Reporter Jon Heyman said the same thing, reporting that “part of braun’s argument was that the chain of custody was broken for 2 days, meaning the sample was left unprotected.”

Tim Kurkjian reported on ESPN that he heard there was a mishandling of the sample.

So how innocent is Braun? Maybe not as innocent as his statement would like you to believe. Braun winning the arbitration hearing on a technicality seems like the reason MLB was so upset the test was overturned.

Braun may have won his appeal, but it will be hard to win back the people who now view him as a dirty player. This is the exact reason Aaron Rodgers said there should be some confidentiality; the public was not supposed to know about the positive test or appeal.

Ryan Braun wins appeal, will not be suspended for positive drug test

Reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun has beaten the system. The Brewers outfielder will not be suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for a positive drug test, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Haudricourt writes “Someone familiar with the decision said the appeal went Braun’s way not so much on contesting the result of the test but the testing process itself, some kind of technicality.”

Braun reportedly tested positive for elevated levels of synthetic testosterone during the playoffs. He accepted his MVP award and the MLB writers had no plans to re-vote on the award.

Braun is expected to report to spring training on Friday. He was the first of 13 players to successfully appeal a drug suspension case.

Major League Baseball Executive Vice President for Labor Relations Rob Manfred issued the following statement expressing dissatisfaction with the outcome of the appeal:

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Matt Kemp says he wouldn’t want MVP even if Ryan Braun is stripped

With Ryan Braun awaiting his fate for the 2012 MLB season, we are left to wonder what will become of the 2011 National League MVP award if Braun is found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs. Braun won the award with a monster season and insists his failed drug test is a misunderstanding. If his appeal is denied and the league strips his MVP award, would it automatically go to runner-up Matt Kemp? Kemp says he has no interest in winning an award that way.

“I would want to win by them voting me,” Kemp said according to the L.A. Times. “I wouldn’t want them to just, ‘Oh, this person did that so how about we just give the award to this person?’ I don’t think it should work that way. If it is that way, then it should be a vacant award for 2011, no one should win the MVP award in the National League.”

It’s easy to understand where Kemp is coming from. We know he believed he should have won the award to begin with, as evidenced by his tweet that said the voters had created a monster after the MVP was announced. Nobody wants to win an award by default, so you could see how Kemp’s pride would get in the way if the league tried to strip Braun of the MVP and give it to the Dodgers outfielder. For what it’s worth, Kemp says he is hoping Braun is clean.

“I know Braun,” he said. “We’ve always been cool. We’ve been friends. He’s been one of my favorite players in the big leagues. I hope it’s not true. It’s even harder because it’s someone that you know and someone that you respect as a person.”

Time will tell if vindication is in the cards for the reigning MVP. If it isn’t, the league might as well not even insult Kemp by trying to hand him the trophy.

Shaun Marcum Would Be ‘Shocked’ if Teammate Ryan Braun Took Steroids

As baseball fans we have all learned not to be surprised when we hear any name associated with performance-enhancing drug use. That being said, Ryan Braun is one of those names that causes the tiniest raise of the eyebrow.  You wouldn’t really expect to hear Braun’s name thrown in with the likes of Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, and Jason Giambi.  According to Braun’s teammate, Brewers pitcher Shaun Marcum, it would be a huge surprise if the rest results are upheld and Braun is suspended for 50 games.

“I’d be shocked,” Marcum said according to the Journal Sentinel. “Like I say, he is one of those guys – his image, everything he does in the game – he is just one of those guys who you would never suspect or think he was taking anything illegally or do anything to cheat. I have seen him in the weight room. I have seen him in the batting cages. His work ethic is second to none. … I could never imagine him or think he was going to do something performance enhancing-wise to cheat. He is just one of those guys who respects work.”

Marcum said he heard the news via text from his mother when he was out in Las Vegas.  We already had Aaron Rodgers defending Braun in saying that there should be some sort of confidentiality with the tests until after the appeal, and it’s hard to argue with that.  Rumors have swirled about prescription medicines and substances other than steroids or HGH, but unfortunately for Braun we’ve grown tired of hearing those excuses.

It is always a possibility that Braun wins his appeal, but that has never happened in baseball when dealing with failed drug tests.  Like Marcum explained, it is the job of his teammates to support him until he’s proven guilty.  If he is, it will be yet another reminder that you can no longer trust anyone — regardless of how unlikely it may seem that they would cheat.

Aaron Rodgers on Ryan Braun: There Should Be Some Sort of Confidentiality

In case you haven’t heard, Ryan Braun reportedly recently failed a drug test.  Considering he was named MVP of the National League, that is pretty significant news.  If it is determined that Braun is guilty after he goes through the appeal process, he would face a 50-game suspension and an enormous hit to his reputation.  Aaron Rodgers, who is admittedly good friends with Braun, offered his thoughts on the matter during an interview with WTMJ-4 in Milwaukee on Monday.  During the discussion, Rodgers raised a valid point about whether or not test results should be made public before they are confirmed.

“Unfortunately in a situation like this, in the public court of opinion, you’re always guilty before proven innocent,” Rodgers said. “Which is obviously the inverse to the regular judicial system. There should be some form of confidentiality when it comes to this. That’s probably the most disappointing thing about this case with Ryan. … It takes a lifetime for you to build a reputation and a quick second for it to be washed away.”

In a separate interview, Rodgers told WAUK in Milwaukee “I am just trusting that my good friend has not been using anything that’s illegal and I’m very confident that that is the case. I know how he cares about the integrity of the game and wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that.”

No player has ever failed a test for performance-enhancing drugs in the MLB and won their appeal.  With that in mind, there is likely bad news on the horizon for Braun and Brewers fans.  Rodgers is right, however, about a reputation being destroyed in an instant. If there is even a slight possibility that the test was flawed or there is a legitimate explanation for Braun failing it, why should his name be publicly associated with cheating?  Unfortunately, 2011 has no use for withholding information until it is confirmed.

Thanks to the Journal Sentinel for passing the story along.