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OPINION - Braun and the kangaroo court

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU)  For me, it goes back to Lance Armstrong. He was one of the most drug-tested athletes in the world. And time after time those tests came back clean. But now he admits that he’s a drug cheater. Obviously, there’s a way to beat the test.

Ryan Bruan didn’t beat the test. He had a positive last season. Braun’s defense wasn’t that he wasn’t a user. He made a procedural argument over chain-of-custody – that his sample was mishandled and wasn’t sent into the lab right away. He won his appeal. But there’s still no explanation for the positive test.

We already knew Braun’s name was in the records of Tony Bosch’s clinic in Miami. Braun claims he paid a $30,000 consulting fee as part of his case against Major League Baseball. Now there’s a separate $1,500 entry – supposedly for drugs. It’ll be Bosch’s word against Braun’s. Neither is credible.

It’s a shame this case will play out in front of an arbitration panel, a kangaroo court if there ever was one. The sentence – a 100-game suspension – has already been leaked before the trial begins. And, if you recall from the original allegation, the leaks coming from Major League Baseball all violate the collective bargaining agreement with the players union. Positive drug tests aren’t supposed to be made public until all the player’s appeals are complete. Braun is being treated unfairly. He is facing a ‘second offense’ penalty, even though the first-offense appeal went in his favor. The appeals will move so slowly that a 100-game penalty would spill into next season. Braun has been so forceful in denying his drug use that he probably can’t accept a lesser suspension, perhaps 50 days, to put this behind him.

If there were to be a real trial, he might beat the rap. But that's different than whether he did it or not. There is another court – of public opinion. Ryan Bruan loses. I no longer look at him the same way. There's too much that hasn't been explained. I'm not interested in whether Braun can come up with a winning legal argument. We want the truth. And it becomes harder and harder to believe he isn’t a cheater.

Chris Conley