Ryan Braun saga is a referendum on the media and “unnamed sources”

Last December ESPN reporter Mark Fainaru-Wada broke a story that reigning National League M.V.P. Ryan Braun had tested positive for a banned substance.  This was the first time since the MLB implemented their more extensive drug testing program in 2006 that a players’ name was leaked before the process had run its course.  66 players have previously been suspended for failing a drug test and 13 players had appealed and lost the decision.  The identity of the 13 players who appealed is not known because the information is not public and their names were not leaked.

Ryan Braun, the reigning N.L. MVP, had his suspension overturned

Braun’s appeal was sustained because the person who had the sample placed the sample in his refrigerator over the weekend because he thought FedEx was closed on Saturday.  Obviously that was extremely dumb and opens up a lot of questions regarding MLB’s drug testing program in general.  The fact of the matter is that the science of testing for performance enhancing is still relatively new and it would be incredibly hard to prove that the sample wasn’t somehow complicated by sitting in some random guy’s fridge for a few days.  Now the MLB is facing criticism over its drug testing policy.  Successful appeal or not, Ryan Braun’s image has taken a hit.  That happens in situations like this but it needs to be acknowledged that the process was meant to go on behind the scenes, not publicly like Braun’s case was presented.

At the end of the day these “unnamed sources” who leak these stories to the press need to be held accountable.  Certain reporters, like Fainaru-Wada, have little concern over things like the Constitution of the United States and would sell out their own mothers to get a good story.  The truth is the story doesn’t exist if the very private information is not leaked.  Fainaru-Wada spent 18 months in prison for leaking grand jury testimony during the BALCO investigation during his time with the San Fransisco Chronicle.  It is, of course, a federal offense to leak grand jury testimony but Fainaru-Wada did it anyway.  And why not?  He served his 18 months in federal prison and then got a job at ESPN, the biggest sports media company in the world.  Once again he violated the privacy afforded a player to go through the process.  It turns out this time that Fainaru-Wada made a boo-boo.  It turns out Braun’s sample was compromised and there is no way of knowing that Braun’s elevated testosterone level was the result of performance enhancing drugs or from some bad mayonnaise left in some guy’s refrigerator.

Fainaru-Wada served time in prison for publishing leaked grand jury testimony and not revealing his source

So what did we learn from this mess?  First off there may be some serious flaws with MLB’s drug testing.  Or it could have been a one-time thing when a less than intelligent guy makes a really dumb decision.  Ryan Braun might have cheated but then again he might not have at all.  Or maybe the lesson is that we should let these things play themselves out before we start to cast stones.  It might not make for the sexiest story but don’t you think it makes more sense for all involved to not report on the story until you’ve got all of the facts?

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

2 Responses to Ryan Braun saga is a referendum on the media and “unnamed sources”

  1. Jeffrey says:

    I definitely agree about the leaking of this type of information but feel that your addressing of the urine sample issue to be very uniformed. The sample did sit in his fridge but the only way it could have been contaminated is if the actual tester did something to it or replaced it. Just sitting in his fridge would not change the contents. In essence Braun most likely got a way with using a PED based on a technicality. As much as I can’t stand the way private information like this gets leaked in some ways in this case I’m not too disappointed that Braun goes through the ringer because otherwise he gets away scott free with juicing in the MLB…

    • evonsports says:

      Actually most of what I’ve read says that leaving it in a refrigerator would most certainly contaminate the sample. The big red flag that Braun’s camp saw was that the test was 3x more than the next highest test result ever and it was an almost unhumanly high testosterone level. There is a lot of evidence that suggests that the result was bogus.

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