braun inside

Fool me once…

This time last year, then reigning MVP, Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun, beat Major League Baseball by having a 50 game suspension for Performance Enhancement Drugs overturned.  He won on a technicality based on how his urine sample was stored.  Regardless, his reputation was tainted, but then went on to have another MVP type season.  So what was the real story?  No one (other than Braun) knows for sure.  This year: Déjà vu all over again.  Not exactly, but once again Braun has been linked to PEDs.  This time his name was found on a list of a known PED supplier.  So again, what’s the real story?  Let’s break down what we know.

WHERE THERE IS SMOKE THERE IS FIRE

You have to believe that something happened.  Either Braun was actively using PEDs or some other type of drug that elevated his testosterone levels (as reported by MLB).  The list may be coincidence or it could be what ties Braun to drug use.  To be determined…

THE RYAN BRAUN EXCUSE ROLODEX

Braun hasn’t flinched once, declaring his innocence throughout both incidents.  He even has a story for the list.  Apparently, his team of lawyers reached out to the supplier to get advice when he was trying to beat his initial rap.  This is actually a great story that should be pretty able to follow up on.  MLB wants Braun badly after he made them look bad.  I would expect FBI type interrogation should they get accused supplier in the box.

MOTIVATION FOR ATHLETES TO CHEAT

Remember Bud Fox in Wall Street, “Everyone is doing it!”  Well, doesn’t it seem like EVERY athlete is juicing these days?  Lance Armstrong, Alex Rodriguez, Ray Lewis (allegedly), etc…  The motivation is to be the best and make money.  Facts are facts: the higher your stats, the higher your salary.  If you have a chance to excel and “Everyone is doing it!” more athletes may be inclined to try and beat the system.

THE HEAD TEST

Also, known as THE FOREARM TEST, here’s how it works.  Take a picture of the athlete prior to suspected PED use, example: 1993 Barry Bonds and then compare to a year suspected of use.  In this example we use 2004 Barry Bonds.  Side by side they look like two different people.  The 2004 head is 50% larger than his 1993 head.  This is the easiest way to know who is leading the juicing parade.  THE FOREARM TEST is a little more difficult, but still effective.  For this example, look at Mark McGwire’s arms before he started hitting 60 plus home runs a year.  Then look at his Paul Bunyan forearms from his record year.  No amount of curls or gym time gives those results.  Back to Braun, good news, he passes the test.  He looks the same as he did in college.

MY VERDICT

I believe Ryan Braun has at least experimented with PEDs.  I believe most athletes have; however, I’m still leaning toward Braun being innocent (for the most part) and will not be found guilty by MLB at this time.  Am I a sucker for believing him?  Probably.  Will it break my heart when it turns out he’s been cheating all along?  Probably.  This one is going to hurt.

David S. Grant is an author of several books, rock columnist, travel writer, and NBA blogger. Follow David on Twitter: @david_s_grant

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