"non-analytical" evidence, in other words something other than a failed drug
test, those penalties did not apply.
That left it to MLB, the players union and the player to negotiate any ban once it was decided to hand down a suspension. That apparently is the process that resulted in the 66-game suspension and Braun's decision to accept it. Recent reports suggested Braun might face a 100-game penalty and he could have been faced with that prior to cutting a deal.
In an interview session with baseball writers last week before the All-Star Game in New York, union executive director Michael Weiner said the union wouldn't resort to the appeals process if overwhelming evidence was uncovered against any player that made a suspension inevitable.
Because Braun accepted the penalty after previously saying many times he never had used PEDs, the MLB investigation must have presented him with overwhelming evidence from the Biogenesis investigation. MLB investigators met with Braun on June 29 to tell him what their investigation had uncovered. Braun declined to answer any questions about Biogenesis, as did other players who were interviewed, but he must have known at that time that he likely would be suspended.
Braun, 29, who recently returned from a one-month stint on the DL because of a thumb injury, has played in only 61 games this season, batting .298 with nine home runs and 38 RBI. He did not play Sunday, getting time to rest the thumb, after playing two games in a row for the first time since going on the DL.
Braun had staunchly denied using PEDs since it leaked out in December 2011 that he had failed a drug test in October of that year, at the start of the Brewers' playoff run. He tested positive for an extremely high level of synthetic testosterone but appealed the decision and became the first major leaguer to have a positive drug test overturned.
Arbitrator Shayam Das overturned the drug test over a chain-of-custody issue centering on the delay in shipping of Braun's urine sample to the testing lab in Montreal. Collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. didn't ship the sample the day he collected it, saying the FedEx office wasn't open. He waited 44 hours after the Saturday collection, shipping it on a Monday, and Das ruled that cast doubt on the condition of the sample.
Braun released a statement after the verdict, saying, "I am very pleased and relieved by today's decision. 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.
"We provided complete cooperation throughout, despite the highly unusual circumstances. I have been an open book, willing to share details from every aspect of my life as part of this investigation, because I have nothing to hide. I have passed over 25 drug tests in my career, including at least three in the past year."
MLB officials were not pleased with the verdict, however. In fact, they were so outraged that they took the extraordinary step of releasing a statement of protest:
"As a part of our drug testing program, the Commissioner's Office and the Players Association agreed to a neutral third party review for instances that are under dispute. While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator
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