As Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun tried to rally support among his major league peers while fighting a possible performance-enhancing drug suspension in 2012, he told others the man who collected his urine sample had motivation to see him suspended, according to an ESPN report.
ESPN reported Sunday that Braun made a series of phone calls to major leaguers in February 2012 while he was appealing a PED suspension. In those conversations, multiple sources told ESPN, Braun said he had been told collector Dino Laurenzi is anti-Semitic. Braun is Jewish.
The report also says Braun relayed that Laurenzi is a Cubs fan, an implication he would have motivation to ensure the suspension of a star player from the division-rival Brewers.
Yahoo! Sports on Sunday reached a source close to Laurenzi who denied the allegation of anti-Semitism.
Braun ultimately won his appeal, though the arbitration decision had nothing to do with any hearsay of Laurenzi’s motivations. The ruling instead focused on the chain of custody and a 44-hour window in which Laurenzi held onto the sample instead of shipping it to the lab for testing.
MLB lawyers said the delay was because there was not a FedEx office nearby that could ship the sample in accordance with proper testing procedures. The lab that tested the sample said there was no degradation of the sample and that the test results were valid.
The ruling went in Braun’s favor, and he avoided a 50-game suspension for high testosterone levels. His name surfaced in the Biogenesis scandal this year, however, and he accepted a 65-game suspension in July.