[Photo courtesy of mlb.com ]
More than a decade after a reporter discovered a performance-enhancing substance in Mark McGwire’s locker, Major League Baseball is still trying to prove the sport is clean.
Ryan Braun may have won his appeal of a 50-game suspension after a drug test indicated he used performance-enhancing drugs, but MLB can count this as a loss.
Back in December, MLB took yet another hit when a report surfaced that the National League Most Valuable Player tested positive for high testosterone levels likely caused by PEDs.
Braun’s subsequent appeal of the suspension did not question the results, but argued that MLB mishandled the urine sample he had given them.
The MLB arbitration panel ruled in Braun’s favor and overturned the suspension.
Throughout this ordeal, Braun has maintained his innocence. While the public may never know the full details of the investigation, it appears Braun was cleared due to a technicality.
And once again, baseball suffers a black eye after another one of its stars is associated with PEDs.
Unfortunately, Braun is not the first MVP, and probably not the last, to have his crown tarnished.
Looking at the MVPs in either league over the past 20 years or so, there are many names associated with PED use including noted home run hitters Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa.
Of the three, only Rodriguez has admitted to using PEDs while Bonds, the record holder for most home runs in a career, and Sosa have denied knowingly doing so.
Major League Baseball has taken steps to clean up the sport, implementing drug testing nearly six years after the McGwire scandal.
One season later they increased the penalties for testing positive. Three positive tests will now equal a lifetime ban from the game.
It may not be right, but winning this appeal does not fully exonerate Braun.
Many fans and media members will still wonder if he is clean, like many before him who have had their reputation damaged by a PED scandal.
Winning his appeal is only a start in cleaning up his reputation.
Lucky for him and MLB, Braun has plenty of baseball left to play. If he can continue to put up stellar numbers, the sport will be able to move forward.
That is until the next PED scandal comes around.