Ryan Braun, the reigning National League MVP, had his 50-game suspension overturned Thursday by an arbitrator. It’s the first time in major-league baseball history that a player successfully challenged a drug-related penalty.
“I am very pleased and relieved by today’s decision,” Braun said in a statement. “It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.”
The 28-year-old outfielder tested positive for elevated testosterone in October. He accepted his 2011 MVP award on Jan. 22 and maintained his innocence, without ever addressing the issue specifically.
“You know, sometimes in life, we all deal with challenges we never expected to endure,” Braun said at the time.
Braun’s argument was that the “chain of custody” had been violated. The person who took the sample reportedly took it home first before shipping it out. Policy states that it should be taken to FedEx immediately.
MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred disagreed with the arbitrator’s decision.
“While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das,” Manfred said.
There was also a rumor floating around that Braun tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs because he had a sexual disease and was taking steroid-based medication.