Braun Accepts Suspension, Gone for the Season

Ryan Braun has been suspended for the balance of the 2013 season, the first casualty in a peformance-enhancing-drugs investgation centered around an anti-aging clinic in southern Florida.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced Braun’s penalty Monday, citing the outfielder for multiple unspecified “violations” of baseball’s drug program and labor contract. Braun will miss the Milwaukee Brewers’ final 65 games without pay, costing him about $3 million of his $8.5 million salary.

“I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed,” Braun said. “I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.”

Under the agreement reached by MLB and the players’ association the specifics of Braun’s admission won’t be made public. The sides also wouldn’t say whether this counted as a single violation or more under baseball’s drug agreement.

The 65 regular-season-game penalty — technically, Braun is also prohibited from playing in the postseason, but the Brewers stopped playing meaningful games by Flag Day — is the third-longest PED-related suspension in MLB history.

In his written statement, Braun did not apologize to any one person in particular, not even to Dino Laurenzi Jr., the individual working on behalf of MLB who collected the urine sample of the Milwaukee left fielder on October 1, 2011. That sample tested positive for elevated testosterone, but Braun escaped punishment on a technicality. Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated explained:

There was a slight delay between when he submitted his sample and when it was sent to the lab. Laurenzi had kept it in his house; the sample had been collected on a Saturday, and he didn’t think it would be shipped until Monday. . . . Braun fought the suspension, which was his right, and an arbitrator ruled in his favor.

Braun subsequently proceeded to badmouth Laurenzi, although he did not discuss specifics. Craig Calcaterra of NBC’s Hardball Talk points out:

Braun’s comments were not exactly libelous — he was noting, correctly, that a compromised sample could result in a positive test — but he did it in a very public and very ham-handed way which gave the clear implication that he thought Laurenzi could’ve tainted his sample. That was a bit much then — most people realized he was making a procedural, not a substantive defense — but now his comments are laid bare as gratuitous and low rent.

More here.

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