MLB's Commissioner's Office 'vehemently disagrees' with Braun ruling

Ryan Braun. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MLB's Commissioner's Office 'vehemently disagrees' with Braun ruling

By Matt Montgomery. CREATED Feb 23, 2012 - UPDATED: Feb 23, 2012

MILWAUKEE- National League MVP Ryan Braun's 50-game suspension has been overturned by baseball arbitrator Shyam Das.

The decision was announced Thursday by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Major League Baseball Executive Vice President for Labor Relations Rob Manfred issued the following statement today:

"Major League Baseball considers the obligations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program essential to the integrity of our game, our Clubs and all of the players who take the field.  It has always been Major League Baseball's position that no matter who tests positive, we will exhaust all avenues in pursuit of the appropriate discipline.  We have been true to that position in every instance, because baseball fans deserve nothing less.

"As a part of our drug testing program, the Commissioner's Office and the Players Association agreed to a neutral third party review for instances that are under dispute.  While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das."

"I was surprised," said David Leigh, Marquette University's former Athletic Trainer. "This is the first time this has ever happened."

Leigh is familiar with drug testing for athletes.  He believes if the chain of custody for Braun's sample was compromised, it would raise all sorts of questions.

"They don't know if the seal's been broken.  They don't know if it has been tampered with, all those things could have happened. I'm not saying they did, but they could have happened and that's what the lawyers would argue."   

Asked if Braun got off on a technicality as some have suggested, Leigh said: "I would look at it as the chain of custody can not be broken."