Braun test leak isolated case, says Union

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The baseball player’s association believes that the MVP Ryan Braun drug test leak was an isolated case.

In December, Braun was reported as having tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone. His representatives insisted during a hearing that the drug test sample had not undergone the specified procedure, resulting in the Milwaukee outfielder getting the 50-game suspension set for him overturned by arbitrator Shyam Das.

Michael Weiner, head of the union, said at the Milawaukee Brewers’ training camp on Sunday that everyone involved in the case was highly disappointed at the leak, saying that it was specific to this particular case and was in no way indicative of the commitment of the program to confidentiality.

He explained that confidentiality was a crucial element of the program, alongside its goals. He said that if there was any problem with confidentiality system-wide, then they would really have an issue, but that it was not the case.

On February 23, one day after the decision was issued by Das, executive vice president of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred said that they were sure that the leak did not happen from the commissioner’s office. Weiner added that it also did not come from anyone who was associated with the program in any way.

When Weiner was asked if the union intended to take any action against the person responsible for the leak, he said that they were not considering it, but that he could not be sure what Braun’s stand was. In his opinion, what was done had already been done.

Prior to Braun, there were 12 players who also challenged their suspensions but they were all unable to overturn their penalties. In the drug program, the arbitrator was the one in charge for deciding grievances that stem from a positive test before the result was made public.

Weiner said that the confidentiality to the appeals process was critical.

In Braun’s case, his lawyers argued that Dino Laurenzi, Jr., the drug collector, had not followed the specified procedures in the drug agreement, which stipulated that urine samples needed to be taken to a Federal Express office the same day that they were collected, with a clause stating the requirement to be followed in the absence of “unusual circumstances.”

Braun’s urine sample was collected on a Saturday, and did not make it to a FedEx office until the following Monday. Laurenzy insisted that he had not tampered with the urine samples, but that he followed protocol that instructed him to safeguard the sample in his home until the time when FedEx could transport it. He added that the laboratory received the samples with its tamper-resistant seals all intact.

From his decision, Das is given 30 days to give the sides his opinion in written form. Weiner admitted that the parties have not yet decided if they could make the decision known to the public, saying that the interests of the program could be served best with confidentiality strictly in place.

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