APNewsBreak: Might be no written decision in Braun

There may never be a written decision explaining why Ryan

Braun’s drug suspension was overturned.

The arbitrator who threw out the 50-game suspension of the NL

MVP has been asked by the players’ union and management to hold off

giving his reasoning while they negotiate changes to their rules

for collecting specimens, people familiar with the case told The

Associated Press.

If players and owners reach agreement on the changes, the Feb.

23 decision by arbitrator Shyam Das to overturn the penalty for the

Milwaukee outfielder could be allowed to stand without any written

explanation, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity

because the process is designed to be confidential.

Baseball’s labor contract says there should be a written

decision within 30 days of an arbitrator’s ruling. It appears

management has no interest in a decision detailing how collection

procedures weren’t followed and the union has no interest in

getting an explanation of a decision many believe let Braun off on

a technicality.

”It’s obviously disappointing because people deserve to know

what the basis for the case being overturned is, and frankly the

athlete should have that right as well,” Travis Tygart, chief

executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said Monday.

”Certainly an innocent athlete would want that opportunity.”

Braun declined comment, Brewers spokesman Mike Vassallo


Meantime, the sides already have made some changes to collection

procedures as a result of Das’ decision.

Employees of Comprehensive Drug Testing, who take the specimens

from players, are now required to drop the samples off at a Federal

Express office on the same day they are collected, provided an

office is open in the vicinity. If not, collectors should take the

specimens home rather than leave them in a drop box. The

prohibition against using drop boxes already was in the drug

agreement between players and owners.

”We hope the parties step back and ensure that the rights of

clean athletes and the integrity of the sport are safeguarded

through the legal process,” Tygart said. ”It sounds like the

changes are toward that effort and ultimately good for clean


Braun tested positive for a urine sample he provided at about

4:30 p.m. on Oct. 1, a Saturday and the day the Brewers opened the

NL playoffs. ESPN reported the positive test in December. The

collector, Dino Laurenzi Jr., left Milwaukee’s Miller Park

approximately 30 minutes later and followed procedures established

by CDT.

While FedEx offices were open, there were none within 50 miles

of Miller Park that would ship packages that day or Sunday.

Laurenzi took the sealed package containing the sample home, placed

it in a Rubbermaid container in his basement office and took it to

a FedEx office on Monday. It was then sent to the World Anti-Doping

Agency-certified lab outside Montreal.

Das heard two days of testimony in January. Braun’s side argued

Laurenzi violated the language of baseball’s drug agreement, which

states ”absent unusual circumstances, the specimens should be sent

by FedEx to the laboratory on the same day they are


Management could challenge a written decision in federal court.

However, the grounds to overturn an arbitration decision are

narrow, with a side generally having to prove bias or misconduct by

the arbitrator, that the arbitrator exceeded his powers or there

was corruption involved in the decision.