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
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
”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
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.