Ryan Braun has shown me a couple of unseemly things about Major League Baseball’s approach to PEDs: snitches get rewarded, and crime does pay.
Let’s ignore the simple facts around Braun’s denial and comparing it to Lance Armstrong. Because nobody disputes that his defiance of the rules and his adherence to story built around fabrication, lies and the trashing of an innocent human’s character make him a proverbial dirtbag.
The main problem remains that the culture around baseball still has this air of ambiguity. With the testing policies, the penalties for suspensions and the fact that a positive test or long-term suspension is crippling to a franchise.
Solutions that I would like to see happen in baseball are as follows:
- Institution of a 100-game penalty for first offense, season-long ban for a second offense and permanent explusion from the game for a third offense
- Implementation of a supplement specialist for each team, appointed by the league, issuing supplements and drugs provided by the league concurrent with substances not on the banned list.
- Empowering MLB and its teams to release and/or void the contracts of offenders
It’s very easy to make comparisons to Rafael Palmeiro or Mark McGwire and their testimonies to Congress, and Braun has napalmed any bridges he might have had with innocence and sympathy with statements like this:
The thing that differentiates Braun from the other two, is that he stands to make $113 million more for the rest of his Brewers tenure, more guaranteed money than any NFL player currently signed, by comparison.
Braun might find that his name has been tarnished and shave, but he also proved that PED crimes still pay. It’s up to Major League Baseball and the Players Association to change that.