According to multiple sources, National League MVP Ryan Braun has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and faces a 50-game suspension if the finding is upheld.
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Braun had to provide a urine sample for testing during the playoffs, and he was notified of the positive result sometime in late October, about a month before he was named the National League's most valuable player.
A spokesman for Braun issued a statement earlier today:
"There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program. While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are very confident he will ultimately be exonerated."
Reportedly, Braun has told those around him that he did not knowingly take any banned substances, and he hopes to prove that during the arbitration process. No player has ever successfully appealed a positive test.
Even if a player can establish he did not knowingly take a banned substance, he must show he was not in any way negligent to appeal successfully. For example, taking a dietary supplement that contains an unlabeled performance-enhancing drug would not be sufficient grounds for an appeal, but if he were to show that he ingested something that was either tampered with or no player reasonably could have assumed to have been contaminated, the appeal might succeed.
In April, Braun signed a five-year contract extension worth $105 million. He then went out and had his best season ever, leading the Brewers to their first division title in nearly three decades. He hit .332, with 33 home runs, 111 runs batted in, scored 109 runs and stole 33 bases.
Now, he's looking at a 50-game suspension to open the 2012 season.
Oh what a difference a summer can make.