This one hurts: Ryan Braun, the Brewers slugger who won the National League MVP while bringing a lot of pride to the Tribe, has failed a drug test due to an unusually high level of testosterone in his body. I’m really hoping this test was a false positive, but based on the word that Braun’s camp gave ESPN, I’m not counting on it:
A spokesman for Braun confirmed the positive test Saturday and issued a statement: “There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan’s complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program. While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated.”
Basically, it sounds like he is going to use the Barry Bonds defense. And no one buys that.
Buster Olney explains why Braun’s failed test is so bad for baseball. Braun is one of the best young players in the game—one of the best young players in the supposed post-steroids era of the game. Not if this test, which Braun is contesting in arbitration, stands.
But it’s also bad for the Jews. Braun was already the Jewish MVP two years ago, and he’s been a real source of pride for the Tribe. As I wrote in 2009, after Braun had a chance before the All-Star game to talk about the pressure of being a Jewish athlete: “And not only is he out there giving hope to all us scrawny Jewish kids who didn’t really chose scholarship over sports, he’s also proven to be the real deal in real life…. how could anyone not root for such a level-headed athlete?”
Well, it might be about to get a lot easier. I sure hope not.