PHOENIX — Saying “my name has been dragged through the mud,” NL MVP Ryan Braun reported to spring training with the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday and declared he had been vindicated, a day after his 50-game suspension for a positive drug test was overturned by an arbitrator.
Braun’s teammates sat in the stands, in uniform, as he held a news conference on the field at the team’s training complex. Braun said that, since what was supposed to be a confidential appeal was played out in public, “I’ve lived this nightmare every day for the last four months.”
Braun detailed how the urine sample he provided on Oct. 1, the day the Brewers opened the playoffs, was not delivered to Federal Express until Oct. 3. Baseball’s drug agreement calls for samples to be delivered to FedEx on the same day they are collected.
“At the end of the day the truth prevailed,” he said. “I’m a victim of a process that completely broke down and failed in the way that it was applied to me in the case. As players, we’re held to a standard of 100 percent perfection regarding the program, and everybody else associated with that program should be held to the same standard. We’re a part of a process where you’re 100 percent guilty until proven innocent. It’s the opposite of the American judicial system.
Braun said, because of the delay sending his sample to a lab, the testing was “fatally flawed.”
“I don’t honestly know what happened to it in that 44-hour period,” he said.
Braun learned Oct. 19 his sample was positive for elevated testosterone, which he said was at a ratio that was the highest ever recorded in baseball’s testing program. The positive test, had it stood up, would have caused him to be suspended for 50 games.
“I tried to handle the entire situation with honor, with integrity, with class, with dignity and with professionalism because that’s who I am and that’s how I’ve always lived my life,” he said. “If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I’d be the first one to step up and I say I did it.”
He criticized the media for leaking the positive test, saying there had been “many inaccurate, erroneous, incomplete and fabricated stories regarding this issue.”
“My name has been dragged through the mud as everything I’ve ever worked for in my life has been called into question,” he said.