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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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In Sports Commentary

Despite being cleared of PED use by Major League Baseball, Ryan Braun will always have that shadow over him. (PHOTO: David Bernacchi )

Shadow over Braun will never leave


Well, so much for a "calm" and "uneventful" offseason for Ryan Braun.

Five days ago at Brewers On Deck, the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player was all smiles, feeling healthy and refreshed. The 2012 season was a tumultuous one, beginning with a leaked positive test for performance enhancing drugs, followed by his subsequent appeal and overturning of the test result and suspension.

Braun got through that – and some nagging injuries – to put up MVP numbers for the second straight year.

The past was quickly becoming the past.

Until Tuesday, that is, when the Miami New Times dropped a bomb on Major League Baseball. The paper uncovered that a Miami-based anti-aging clinic had been supplying performance enhancing drugs to players like Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera and Gio Gonzalez.

In fact, three of the players listed by the paper – Cabrera, pitcher Bartolo Colon and San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal – were all suspended by MLB last year for testing positive for PEDs.

Braun's name is nowhere in this story. No current player in the Milwaukee Brewers organization is. Yet it took only moments for others to begin to connect Braun to Biogenesis.

Why?

Because Braun attended the University of Miami from 2003-05, and the Hurricanes are directly implicated in this report – namely the program's strength coach Jimmy Goins.

Goins joined the Hurricanes staff in 2004.

And, one of Braun's former Hurricanes teammates, pitcher Cesar Carrillo, is also named in the report as having obtained PEDs from the clinic.

Unfortunately, this is the true price of that leaked positive test.

Whenever Braun retires, I'm sure the Hall of Fame (and whoever determines its inductees) will look at the trials he faced prior to 2012 as nothing more than a blip on his career radar. It'll be mentioned, but that's it.

But this? This is what he'll have to deal with for the rest of his career.

Of course, he has his share of supporters, too:

I'm sure, at some point, Braun's name would have come up in the coming days just by going through every player on the Hurricanes roster since Goins joined the team in 2004. But if the leaked test and appeal weren't made public – as they should not have been per MLB rules – the most that would've happened is a passing mention, or perhaps, Braun being asked his thoughts on the matter.

Now, not only will he be asked about it – he's already being proven guilty of something in many people's eyes. This loose connection to a lab in Miami is just an "affirmation" for those who didn't buy his appeal to begin with.

Trust me, I get it. Braun is a tricky case for the public. Did he technically test positive for PEDs? Yes. Did MLB overturn the test due to a flawed collecting system? Yes. Does one negate the other? To me, it does. He has no positive test on his record, no suspension.

According to Major League Baseball, he's clean. So that's that.

In the court of public opinion, however, nothing is ever so black and white. One side lines up yelling "He did it!" and the other yells back "He didn't!"

In the middle is Braun, who will forever have to deal with that. It's an unfortunate space to occupy.


Talkbacks

HeySuburbia | Feb. 7, 2013 at 10:03 a.m. (report)

A note saying that Braun owed him $20,000 - $30,000.... You can't honestly believe that it was really a consulting fee can you? Especially when it's the same amount that players who were getting PEDs from the same doctor were paying.

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sandstorm | Feb. 7, 2013 at 9:33 a.m. (report)

seriously? a handwritten note in a book with no drugs listed next to his name is enough to convict? wow.

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HeySuburbia | Feb. 6, 2013 at 7:47 a.m. (report)

Looks like Braun wasn't so clean after all....

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TosaJim | Feb. 2, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. (report)

sandstorm....it's good to see you back. :)

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sandstorm | Feb. 1, 2013 at 5:26 p.m. (report)

cut and paste all you want Jim. that positive was thrown out as there was no reliable sample. that's not a technicality. that's science.

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