by Bill Johnson (email@example.com)
So, what is the point of the continued discussion about Ryan Braun's failed drug test and the arbitrator's decision to overturn the 50 game suspension?
There are certainly unanswered questions, but where are those answers? If answers arise that are not favorable to Braun's case, then what?
It just seems like a whole lot of talk about nothing.
For those of you that believe Ryan Braun is guilty and that he's getting off scot-free, guess again. The egg continues to drip from the faces of Major League Baseball's executives as well as two of the best investigative sports journalists in the world, Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn. Braun may be able to play the entire 2012 season, but from this point forward he is a marked man. You can bet that the random drug test that Braun took in October won't be the last. (Mysteriously, he could be randomly selected every two weeks.) Braun had better not have anything stronger than marinara sauce in his urine. You can also bet that Fainaru-Wada and Quinn will know every time that Braun gets a parking ticket, every time he stops at a gentlemen's club, and every time he makes a rolling stop.
I get that MLB and the two reporters involved are committed to extract their pound of flesh.
What's in it for everyone else?
Braun didn't break the home run record. His team didn't win the World Series. His numbers aren't any different than they've ever been.
So why are fans and media so wound up about this?
I have believed for a long time that most pro athletes at least dabble with illegal performance enhancers. They are ultra competitive and hyper paranoid. In spite of their incredible gifts, they are all looking for an advantage. Why do you think companies work so hard on legal supplements?
I have never had a problem with players taking PEDs. First and foremost, I'm an NFL fan. As a fan that started watching the game in the early '70's, I've always understood that steroids and other PEDs are part of the game. It doesn't take away from my enjoyment one bit.
I also believe that baseball players have been taking steroids and other PEDs since the 1970's. People try to make themselves feel better by suggesting that there's a "steroid era", stretching from approximately 1998-2004. They believe that they can just wipe out that era and baseball will be pure and holy again. That all the evil steroid users can be wrapped into a tidy little package.
I have a little different take on that.
I believe that baseball and it's players have proven one thing over the last 140 years or so.
They cheat a lot.
They cheat when they don't have to cheat.
Cheating is a way of life in baseball, and until Barry Bonds got close to the all time and single season home run records, no one cared.
I think that as soon as baseball players got wind of the positive effects steroids could have, they started using them. I believe former Braves reliever Tom House, who said that baseball players were taking everything they could get their hands on as early as the late 1960's. Why wouldn't they? This is a culture that had long encouraged things like corked bats, stealing signs, and amphetamine laden coffee. Why wouldn't these same people move on to steroids as soon as they could? Why would they wait until the 1990's? Does that make any sense?
What is the ultimate goal with all of this scrutiny of Ryan Braun?
Is it a quest for the truth?
If you believe that Ryan Braun took banned substances, will you ever be satisfied to hear anything short of that? If unadulterated proof came out that there was something wrong with Braun's sample, would you believe it? What is your ultimate goal in the continued haranguing of Ryan Braun?
If I were Braun, my next step would be to sue the world. Sue everybody. It's not going to stop the unfair heckling from fans and constant badgering from MLB and ESPN's investigative wing, but maybe eventually those involved with the leak will have to pay.
You see, none of this ever should have happened. We shouldn't know about any of this.
Remember that: We shouldn't know any of this.
Ryan Braun gets to play the first 50 games of the 2012 season.
Otherwise, nothing positive has come from the arbitrators decision to overturn his suspension.
Looking at things now, you could almost argue that in the court of public opinion, he'd have been better off if they'd upheld the suspension.
Is that right?
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