Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

'The truth is on my side,' Braun says

Brewers reliever John Axford, left, and Ryan Braun hug after Braun discusses his overturned steroid suspension.

Associated Press

Brewers reliever John Axford, left, and Ryan Braun hug after Braun discusses his overturned steroid suspension.

PHOENIX — Ryan Braun stood a few feet from the batter's box Friday and hit back at those he believes tarnished his name.

Last year's National League MVP insisted he always believed his 50-game suspension for a positive steroid test would be overturned and he would be able to suit up on opening day for the Brewers.

"We won because the truth is on my side," he said. "The truth is always relevant, and at the end of the day, the truth prevailed."

Less than 24 hours after his suspension was overturned by an arbitrator, Braun professed his innocence while questioning the system that allowed him to be suspended for failing a test he took after a playoff game Oct. 1.

"There were a lot of times where I wanted to come out and tell the entire story, attack everybody as I've been attacked, as my name has been dragged through the mud, as everything in my entire life has been called into question," said Braun, a former star at the University of Miami. "But at the end of the day, I recognize what is best for the game of baseball. I can't ever get that time in my life back."

Soon after thanking teammates and fans, Braun, 28, expressed disappointment that the confidentiality of his urine test was broken. ESPN first reported his failed test for a high testosterone level in October. He called the reports "inaccurate, erroneous and completely fabricated."

Braun rarely looked at his notes while laying out a time line of events that led to his suspension.

On Oct. 19, Braun learned his sample tested "three times" the level of any previous specimen, which he said confused him. He said he began "a humanistic" defense by showing documentation he never gained a pound, his running times did not improve and he didn't get stronger.

"I truly believe in my heart, and I would bet my life, that this substance never entered my body at any point," he said.

Braun said the urine test he provided Oct. 1 was not delivered to FedEx until Oct. 3. Baseball's drug agreement calls for samples to be delivered on the day they are collected, and that was the basis for the suspension being overturned.

"There are a lot of different things that could have possibly happened," Braun said. "There are a lot of things that we heard about the collection process, the collector and some other people involved in the process that have been concerning to us. But as I've dealt with the situation, I know what it's like to be wrongly accused of something. So for me to wrongly accuse somebody wouldn't help."

Braun said he was a "victim" of a "fatally flawed" testing system and there is inherent presumed guilt within the process.

"As players, we're held to a standard of 100 percent perfection, and everybody else associated with that program should be held to the same standard," he said. "We're a part of a process where you're 100 percent guilty until proven innocent. It's the opposite of the American judicial system.

"This is my livelihood. This is my integrity. This is my character. This is everything I have ever worked for in my life being called into question. We need to make sure we get it right. If you're going to be in a position where you're 100 percent guilty until innocent, you can't mess up."

Soon after Braun's news conference, Major League Baseball released a statement defending the testing program.

"Our program is not 'fatally flawed,' " executive vice president Rob Manfred said. "Changes will be made promptly to clarify the instructions provided to collectors. Neither Mr. Braun nor the (players union) contended in the grievance that his sample had been tampered with or produced any evidence of tampering."

The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, David Howman, said under his agency's rules, Braun would have had to show the departure from the rules was related to the test result.

Sizemore out: Indians centerfielder Grady Sizemore has a strained lower back and will miss the start of the season. There is no timetable for his return. Sizemore was hurt a few weeks ago while working his way back from knee surgery.

Orioles: Second baseman Brian Roberts, who didn't play after May 16 last season because of concussion symptoms, partici­pated in light workouts on the first full day of camp. His status for opening day hasn't been determined.

Nationals: Star third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said he wants the framework of a contract extension completed by today or he won't discuss one during the season. He has two seasons left on a $45 million, five-year deal.

'The truth is on my side,' Braun says 02/24/12 [Last modified: Friday, February 24, 2012 11:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Orioles, with Cobb on hill, Beckham in lineup


    UPDATE, 3:46: After sitting out Thursday in recovering from extraction of a tooth, former Rays SS Tim Beckham is in the Orioles lineup tonight for his first game against his ex-mates, batting leadoff and playing short.

  2. Bucs defensive end Chris Baker (90) is seen during training camp last month at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Bucs' defensive attributes in opener included flexibility


    TAMPA — It's a blink-and-you-miss-it nuance, but in Sunday's opener against Chicago, on their very first defensive snap, the Bucs lined up in a 3-4 defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter shakes hands with cornerback Brent Grimes (24) before an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  4. Bucs-Vikings: What if O.J. Howard and Dalvin Cook had both been taken?


    So what if the Bucs had taken neither O.J. Howard nor Dalvin Cook with the 19th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft?

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) makes a reception as Chicago Bears free safety Eddie Jackson (39) tackles him Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Wish the Bucs had taken Dalvin Cook? Read this


    It will happen sometime Sunday afternoon.

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) carries the ball in the second quarter Monday night, Sept. 11, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.  (Jeff Wheeler/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)