With the Biogensis scandal still hanging over baseball, the first critical suspension has gone down by former NL MVP of the Brewers, Ryan Braun, who will be suspended without pay for the remainder of the 2013 Championship Season and Postseason for violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension of Braun is effective immediately.
Ryan Braun said: “As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it is has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.”
Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner issued a statement on the suspension of Braun.
"I am deeply gratified to see Ryan taking this bold step. It vindicates the rights of all players under the Joint Drug Program. It is good for the game that Ryan will return soon to continue his great work both on and off the field."
“We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions,” said Rob Manfred, Executive Vice President, Economics & League Affairs for Major League Baseball. “We all agree that it is in the best interests of the game to resolve this matter. When Ryan returns, we look forward to him making positive contributions to Major League Baseball, both on and off the field.”
There are currently 65 games left on the Brewers schedule for the remainder of the 2013 regular season. Currently the team is 18.5 games out of first place in the NL Central and are last in the division. It will ultimately cost Braun—and save the Brewers--$3,019,125.68
The question is, how was the decision rendered, and what would happen if Braun were to test positive in the future for PEDs? The uncharted waters for the league, the MLBPA, and Braun works as follows.
His suspension on Monday is viewed as his first, and therefore 50 games. The league negotiated the additional 15 games for matters such as lying, etc. Many will point to Braun having his 50 game suspension for elevated levels of testosterone overturned in Feb of 2012 due to chain of custody being broken with his test sample. Braun and his lawyers never contested the positive results of the test then, only that the sample could have been tampered with. Former independent arbitrator Shyam Das ruled in favor of Braun and therefore the suspension was rescinded. Based upon the Joint Drug Agreement, it was as if that suspension never happened. Today’s ruling is therefore viewed has Braun’s first. If he were to test positive in the future he would be suspended for 100 games as a second offense.
Rumors had swirled that the league could have handed down up to a 100 game suspension. But, as MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner said at the All-Star Game last week, because Biogensis is part of the just cause aspect of the JDA, suspensions “could be 5 or 500 games.” In accepting the suspension it will be interesting to see how this impacts others, such as Alex Rodriguez in the Biogenesis case. Braun did not fully go through the grievance process, and instead took his punishment. It is uncertain what Rodriguez or others implicated in the case will do.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.
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