The verdict is in for National League MVP Ryan Braun: Not guilty.
The Brewers outfielder is the first Major Leaguer ever to successfully appeal a suspected violation of MLB’s Drug Treatment and Prevention Program. The ruling, from a three-member special panel that first convened last week in New York, spares Braun a suspension that might have covered as many as 50 games, preserves his pristine reputation as a “clean” player and positions him to man left field for the Brewers on Opening Day as the team begins its defense of the National League Central crown.
“Under the Joint Drug Agreement, a player’s successful challenge to a suspension normally would not have been made public,” the Major League Baseball Players Association said in a statement. “The parties have agreed, given the particulars of this case, that an announcement is appropriate.”
Major League Baseball Executive Vice President for Labor Relations Rob Manfred issued his own statement.
“Major League Baseball considers the obligations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program essential to the integrity of our game, our Clubs and all of the players who take the field. It has always been Major League Baseball’s position that no matter who tests positive, we will exhaust all avenues in pursuit of the appropriate discipline. We have been true to that position in every instance, because baseball fans deserve nothing less.
“As a part of our drug testing program, the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association agreed to a neutral third party review for instances that are under dispute. While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”
Das cast the deciding vote on a panel that also included Manfred and MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner.
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