Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is a very lucky man. Last year he won the National League’s MVP award even though Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers had a better season. Last December, Major League Baseball announced Braun would be facing a 50-game suspension for testing positive for synthetic testosterone. Braun announced he was going to dispute the decision, but considering the fact that no baseball player has ever prevailed when challenging a failed drug test, his chances at getting the drug test thrown out seemed highly unlikely.
It was announced yesterday that Braun’s failed drug test was overturned by a three-person arbitration panel. The panel voted 2-1 to throw out the failed drug test, not because it was in error, but because of a chain-of-custody technicality.
Rules state that when a urine sample is collected, the collector is to take it immediately to FedEx for shipment to the MLB testing lab in Montreal. The collector, believing that FedEx was already closed, took the sample home and stored it in his refrigerator for two days. It was then shipped to the lab where it tested positive.
Even through the seal on the sample bottle was intact, two of the three arbitrators decided that because the sample wasn’t taken directly to FedEx as the rules require, the test was invalid.
Instead of sitting out the first fifty games of the season, Braun will be allowed to start the season with the rest of his teammates. Not because he’s innocent of using a performance enhancing drug, but because of a technicality.