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Friday, December 16, 2011

NYBD: Silva: The Real Crime is the Leak to Braun’s Test Results

This has been floating around for a few days so…..

Despite these claims, it hasn’t stopped the media from assuming he is guilty and preaching from their sanctimonious pulpit. The hot debate has been whether he should be stripped of his MVP award. Yesterday, however, gossip site Terez Owens reported that Braun could indeed be innocent because of medication he is taking for an alleged sexual transmitted disease. Since there is no cure for the alleged disease, doctors are forced to increase testosterone levels to prevent its outbreak. This is what triggered the odd result.

Later in the day, TO went on to say that sources within the Milwaukee organization told them that “Braun will be let off because he tested positive for an STD and the medication given to him by his doctor is what caused the spike. Braun and his lawyers plan to go after whoever leaked the story because of HIPAA laws.”

This, I believe, is the real story. The results of drug tests are not supposed to be public under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program established by MLB and the Players Association in 2006. The Health Policy Advisory Committee (HPAC) notifies the Player and the Club of the positive drug test result. In theory, there are only a handful of privileged people in on the process.

So where is the leak? It can be coming from one of five places: the commissioner’s office, the Brewers, Nez Balelo and CAA Sports, the HPAC, or CDT, the company that administers the drug tests for MLB. Since the process informs the player and team about the results, logic states the leak is coming from some corners of the Brewers organization, or worse yet, the commissioner’s office. Again, we can only speculate, but logic makes this a fair assumption.

Repoz Posted: December 16, 2011 at 09:38 PM | 50 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers, rumors, steroids

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Nasty Nate Posted: December 16, 2011 at 10:04 PM (#4018089)
So where is the leak? It can be coming from one of five places: the commissioner’s office, the Brewers, Nez Balelo and CAA Sports, the HPAC, or CDT, the company that administers the drug tests for MLB.


Or from Braun himself, or his agent (or someone at the agency).
   2. The District Attorney Posted: December 16, 2011 at 10:08 PM (#4018094)
So where is the leak?
It's an STD; where do you think?

I was reading about this earlier today, and it didn't exactly seem like there was a medical consensus that herpes medication would yield the results that Braun allegedly got.

I will say that "Terez Owens" is a great name for a sports gossip site. And that this,
The Real Crime is the Leak to Braun’s Test Results
at least, is obviously true.
   3. DEFCON: jive Posted: December 16, 2011 at 11:19 PM (#4018148)
Some call it a leak, I'd always heard it called a discharge. Regardless, Braun and his lawyers need to go after it.
   4. Khrushin it bro Posted: December 16, 2011 at 11:38 PM (#4018157)
So how does Jeter get away with it?
   5. Bob Tufts Posted: December 16, 2011 at 11:47 PM (#4018162)
Does Jeff Novitzky still have access to the trash and computers at CDT?
   6. PerroX Posted: December 16, 2011 at 11:47 PM (#4018163)
If Braun gets off, there's gonna be a sudden spike in the spread of herpes in mlb.
   7. Ron J Posted: December 16, 2011 at 11:50 PM (#4018164)
While the explanation is plausible, I'm pretty sure it'll only matter if MLB wants it to. Strict liability and all that. Sure, he almost certainly could have got a therapeutic use exemption, but it was his duty to get it before the test. (Yeah, an arbitrator will hear the case. I'm about 85% confident that he'll rule "strict liability" unless MLB is OK with Braun's explanation. And they probably won't be.)

Incidentally one of Marvin Miller's specific objections to testing (from day one) is that he's never believed that which is supposed to stay confidential will in fact stay confidential.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: December 16, 2011 at 11:54 PM (#4018169)
If Braun gets off, there's gonna be a sudden spike in the spread of herpes in mlb.


Gets off. Ha.
   9. valuearbitrageur Posted: December 16, 2011 at 11:55 PM (#4018173)
The union screwed up agreeing to test under strict liability and without better privacy controls. I'm sure these were some of the key concerns that held them back before congress and the MLB bludgeoned them into this program. Hopefully the union will force the MLB to immediately re-open the CBA and make some big changes to the program. For starters, the MLB needs to fire someone to show a real commitment to player privacy.
   10. Lassus Posted: December 17, 2011 at 12:27 AM (#4018185)
While the explanation is plausible, I'm pretty sure it'll only matter if MLB wants it to. Strict liability and all that. Sure, he almost certainly could have got a therapeutic use exemption, but it was his duty to get it before the test.

Which would have also leaked, pun NOT intended. IF (and it may be a big if) this reason is true, and checks out, I don't think it's particularly insane that Braun may have simply not been thinking about the exemption. Getting an incurable STD of that (or any) nature is kind of traumatic, no matter how much at BTF we love to imagine Jeter's penis festering with sores and how cool we all are not to be in his shoes, ha ha ha. Or underwear.
   11. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 17, 2011 at 12:48 AM (#4018192)
I was reading about this earlier today, and it didn't exactly seem like there was a medical consensus that herpes medication would yield the results that Braun allegedly got.

Yeah, no kidding. Points for creativity from Braun's side at least. I mean, finally an upside to getting herpes! All the synthetic testosterone you can carry.
   12. staring out the window and waiting for fenderbelly Posted: December 17, 2011 at 12:54 AM (#4018195)
If Braun gets off, there's gonna be a sudden spike in the spread of herpes in mlb.


Would it be like one of those "chicken pox parties" that people have with their kids? Because that would be... disturbing.
   13. McCoy Posted: December 17, 2011 at 12:54 AM (#4018196)
Using steroids as a preventive measure? I thought they wanted Braun to breakout?
   14. McCoy Posted: December 17, 2011 at 12:56 AM (#4018198)

Yeah, no kidding. Points for creativity from Braun's side at least. I mean, finally an upside to getting herpes! All the synthetic testosterone you can carry.


So now everybody in MLB has ADD, trying to have a kid, has herpes, and has their dentist treating them for cancer.
   15. PerroX Posted: December 17, 2011 at 01:25 AM (#4018202)
IF (and it may be a big if) this reason is true, and checks out, I don't think it's particularly insane that Braun may have simply not been thinking about the exemption. Getting an incurable STD of that (or any) nature is kind of traumatic, no matter how much at BTF we love to imagine Jeter's penis festering with sores and how cool we all are not to be in his shoes, ha ha ha. Or underwear.


Ehhh, it's not that bad. Plus Braun impresses me as a fellow commando type. The ladies seem to like it.
   16. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: December 17, 2011 at 01:31 AM (#4018207)
Now that Barry Bonds might have to stay home for a month and global awareness of Ryan Braun's penis is at an all-time high, it's safe to declare victory in the war on steroids.
   17. Zach Posted: December 17, 2011 at 02:24 AM (#4018218)
Why does the article assume MLB is responsible for the leaks? It seems to me that someone whose official job includes test results is the least likely to leak. There's HIPAA to worry about, plus social/professional ostracism if word gets out.

Releasing the information at low tide of baseball interest for the year sounds like something the player's camp would prefer to do.
   18. Sleepy's not going to blame himself Posted: December 17, 2011 at 03:04 AM (#4018235)
Why does the article assume MLB is responsible for the leaks? It seems to me that someone whose official job includes test results is the least likely to leak. There's HIPAA to worry about, plus social/professional ostracism if word gets out.


Would the leak of the STD results be considered much more of a "real crime" than releasing PED test results? Or are they the same level? Can someone who knows, or pretends to know, please provide me with some free legal advice on the interweb?
   19. TVerik, who wonders what the hell is "Ansky" Posted: December 17, 2011 at 03:12 AM (#4018238)
Even better, is the fact that Braun has a possible STD better for his "image" than a positive PED result?
   20. Dale Sams Posted: December 17, 2011 at 03:55 AM (#4018255)
Genital warts is also incurable...so..I ...hear.

Regardless I patiently await the simple(x) apologies of all the sportswriters who blistered their fingers in a rush to judgement.
   21. shoewizard Posted: December 17, 2011 at 08:46 AM (#4018312)
Even better, is the fact that Braun has a possible STD better for his "image" than a positive PED result?


Is he married ?
   22. jwb Posted: December 17, 2011 at 09:18 AM (#4018315)
Remember this story? A woman at Miller Park held up a marriage proposal sign with her phone number on it last April. At the time, Braun was single and said he had a girlfriend.
   23. Something Other Posted: December 17, 2011 at 12:51 PM (#4018344)
This is what you get for saying yes to some random ballpark babe and not having your wingman vet her in a bar first.
   24. Joe OBrien Posted: December 17, 2011 at 07:25 PM (#4018526)
Having an elevated testosterone level is cheating. You can't just hand wave that away. I like the strict liability standard because it shouldn't matter for punishment why you cheated, just that you did.

Now my opinion of Braun as a fan is a different matter. If this STD story turns out to be true, my opinion of him will be much higher than if he deliberately cheated. But as far as punishment goes, this doesn't get him off the hook. The main reason for testing IMO is to have a level playing field so players aren't forced to risk their health to keep up. If Braun had a high testosterone level, especially during the playoffs, the field certainly wasn't level.
   25. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: December 17, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#4018542)
This particular STD is extremely common, and i imagine even more so amongst athletes who are out and about all the time. I can't imagine Braun is the first MLB player to be treated for this. You'd think the team doctors would be aware of possible complications with the testing.
   26. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 17, 2011 at 07:57 PM (#4018553)
It's kind of a stretch to talk about this in terms of "complications" with the testing. The story is that taking anti-virals to prevent Herpes outbreaks lowers testosterone (which in turn makes the anti-virals less effective according to some). So doctors also prescribe testosterone replacement. That's not a drug messing up a test result, that's a banned substance being correctly detected in the test. The only "defense" that this gives Braun would be that his doctor didn't know and/or tell him that he was prescribing a banned substance that would require a therapeutic use exemption.
   27. Dale Sams Posted: December 17, 2011 at 08:06 PM (#4018559)
Having an elevated testosterone level is cheating


Is it?
   28. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: December 17, 2011 at 08:13 PM (#4018565)
26, that makes sense. Was Braun maybe going to a different doctor than usual in an effort to avoid media coverage?

I think we can all agree seeing rotoworld updates that say "Ryan Braun is day to day with herpes" is something we'd rather avoid.
   29. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: December 17, 2011 at 09:32 PM (#4018635)
I think we can all agree seeing rotoworld updates that say "Ryan Braun is day to day with herpes" is something we'd rather avoid.

Speak for yourself there.
   30. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 17, 2011 at 09:47 PM (#4018647)
The story is that taking anti-virals to prevent Herpes outbreaks lowers testosterone (which in turn makes the anti-virals less effective according to some). So doctors also prescribe testosterone replacement. That's not a drug messing up a test result, that's a banned substance being correctly detected in the test.


But the initial test is for the level of testosterone, right? If the goal of taking the prescribed testosterone is just to get your testosterone levels back to normal, that shouldn't trigger a failed test, right? In which case, I don't necessarily see where a "therapeutic use exemption" makes sense. In other words, even here, doesn't this suggest that either Braun didn't suffer the lower-T side effect, so the prescribed testosterone was unnecessary, or Braun doubled up on his testosterone prescription to get the added benefit of the extra testosterone?

As I'm understanding this, I see it as an "explanation" for Braun's failed test, but I don't really see how it's a "defense" of it.
   31. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 17, 2011 at 10:00 PM (#4018652)
But the initial test is for the level of testosterone, right?


Actually, the initial test is for testosterone:epitestosterone ratio.

...doesn't this suggest that either Braun didn't suffer the lower-T side effect, so the prescribed testosterone was unnecessary, or Braun doubled up on his testosterone prescription to get the added benefit of the extra testosterone?


Or his doctor just prescribed too much. Or maybe something else that we haven't thought of yet. But my point was just that you can't take testosterone to restore your levels to 'normal' without getting a therapeutic use exemption. The cream was testosterone. Putting aside the issue of whether it was banned when Bonds allegedly used it, just imagine the sh!tstorm if it turned out that MLB's current policy didn't ban what Bonds allegedly used.

I see it as an "explanation" for Braun's failed test, but I don't really see how it's a "defense" of it.


Agreed. Especially with a strict liability standard, and maybe even with one that would be more favorable to the player.
   32. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 17, 2011 at 10:44 PM (#4018672)
I need to get something through my thick head.

Assume this story is accurate. (Which I doubt)

So the lad is getting two treatments. One to take care of his 'personal issue' and then something else to counteract one of the side effects.

If I understand some of you correctly if the fella is provided treatment from a real doc (not a Mickey Mantle quack giving whacko injections) and things result in a positive test but is not something related to any real attempt at flouting the rules then you still throw him into solitary?

Just asking.

And again, I figure he's guilty of some nonsense. So don't be tossing out the "You are a Brewer fan so of course blah, blah" horsesh*t.

Just answer the godd*mn question.
   33. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 17, 2011 at 11:09 PM (#4018684)
If I understand some of you correctly if the fella is provided treatment from a real doc (not a Mickey Mantle quack giving whacko injections) and things result in a positive test but is not something related to any real attempt at flouting the rules then you still throw him into solitary?

Good question, Harvey.

And again, I figure he's guilty of some nonsense. So don't be tossing out the "You are a Brewer fan so of course blah, blah" horsesh*t.

Just answer the godd*mn question.


But you'd better watch out, or you'll be accused of defending your boyhood hero.
   34. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 17, 2011 at 11:13 PM (#4018685)
But you'd better watch out, or you'll be accused of defending your boyhood hero.

Julio Franco?
   35. The District Attorney Posted: December 17, 2011 at 11:35 PM (#4018692)
Anyone who has followed pro wrestling or MMA knows that "I had to take stuff because I have such-an-such an issue that gives me low testosterone" is a loophole that swallows up the entire rule. It is not exactly difficult for a rich pro athlete to find a doctor whom, given sufficiently flimsy pretext, will "prescribe" anything you like. The joke that everyone would claim to have herpes is actually not a joke, but very likely. (I realize that Harveys specified "a real doc", but assuming the guy is properly licensed, you can't really write a rule that hinges on whether he actually is a good doctor.)

It's especially a problem because, as I understand it, one of the things that can inhibit your body's natural testosterone production is, yes, extensive use of steroids. That'd be like excusing drunk driving on the basis that you're an alcoholic. (Or something like that, I dunno.)
   36. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 18, 2011 at 12:18 AM (#4018704)
Harvey's,
If he has a real condition and a real doctor writing a real prescription, then he's supposed to tell MLB about it. Before he flunks a drug test, not after.
   37. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 18, 2011 at 12:28 AM (#4018705)
(I realize that Harveys specified "a real doc", but assuming the guy is properly licensed, you can't really write a rule that hinges on whether he actually is a good doctor.)


Harvey's,
If he has a real condition and a real doctor writing a real prescription, then he's supposed to tell MLB about it. Before he flunks a drug test, not after.


I've always said that MLB should have a list of pre-screened and pre-approved doctors who would have exclusive authorization to prescribe any sort of drugs that may have restricted substances in them. Even assuming that Braun may very well have acted in 100% innocence, just knowing that he had to use an authorized doctor could prevent incidents like this from happening.
   38. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 18, 2011 at 12:49 AM (#4018712)
If he has a real condition and a real doctor writing a real prescription, then he's supposed to tell MLB about it. Before he flunks a drug test, not after.

What's the difference?
   39. joker24 Posted: December 18, 2011 at 01:06 AM (#4018713)
What's the difference?


Because otherwise he could run a real cycle for as long as he could before getting "caught" and then fall back on this excuse.
   40. Joe Bivens is NOT a clueless numpty Posted: December 18, 2011 at 01:08 AM (#4018714)
He could do that after telling them, too.
   41. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 18, 2011 at 01:10 AM (#4018715)
The difference is that if he gets a therapeutic use exemption, then we never find out about his 'failed' drug test or his 'condition'
   42. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 18, 2011 at 01:17 AM (#4018716)
The difference is that if he gets a therapeutic use exemption, then we never find out about his 'failed' drug test or his 'condition'

We aren't supposed to know about those things now, but we do. And that matters to Braun, it doesn't explain why it should matter regarding his punishment.
   43. joker24 Posted: December 18, 2011 at 01:22 AM (#4018717)
He could do that after telling them, too.


Not at all. With a TUE (which would be bullshit to give anyway but whatever) he'd almost certainly have to take regularly an actual testosterone level test, and not just the T/E or the carbon isotope tests that try to detect the presence of abnormal testosterone. He'd have to stay within accepted testosterone levels and not just the ratios. By not telling anyone, you can goose the ratio test in a bunch of different ways in order to have jacked up testosterone levels and have this BS get out jail free card for when you screw up your cycle.

But if this is true, and even if he really wasn't trying to cheat, for ##### sake he should be suspended 50 games for being a moron and not telling anyone he was taking synthetic testosterone. You can't be that stupid to think that'd be cool with everyone.
   44. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: December 18, 2011 at 01:50 AM (#4018724)
If I understand some of you correctly if the fella is provided treatment from a real doc (not a Mickey Mantle quack giving whacko injections) and things result in a positive test but is not something related to any real attempt at flouting the rules then you still throw him into solitary?


Yes. I know that it sucks for players who genuinely aren't trying to circumvent the rules, but the only way you can enforce a steroid ban in any meaningful way, is with a strict liability policy. You can pretty much always make up a plausible story after the fact (tainted supplements, legit medicinal purposes etc.), that aren't verifiable, but would be enough to raise enough doubt under anything other than strict liability. You will effectively end up with no steroid ban at all.

And it really isn't hard. If you are taking medication, you run it by the MLB hotline before taking it. Hell, get your agent to do it for you. There is no excuse for not doing it.
   45. Lassus Posted: December 18, 2011 at 02:02 AM (#4018729)
And it really isn't hard. If you are taking medication, you run it by the MLB hotline before taking it. Hell, get your agent to do it for you. There is no excuse for not doing it.

I still think a BRAUN TAKING HERPES MEDICATION HA HA leak in the Deadspin/BTF era is a pretty decent excuse.
   46. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 18, 2011 at 02:13 AM (#4018734)
Okey dokey
   47. Bob Evans Posted: December 18, 2011 at 04:57 AM (#4018790)
MLB should have a list of pre-screened and pre-approved doctors who would have exclusive authorization to prescribe any sort of drugs that may have restricted substances in them

This strikes me as logistically impossible.
   48. PerroX Posted: December 18, 2011 at 05:32 AM (#4018799)
But you'd better watch out, or you'll be accused of defending your boyhood hero.

Julio Franco?


Old Hoss Radbourn.
   49. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 18, 2011 at 02:00 PM (#4018844)
We aren't supposed to know about those things now, but we do.


If he had an exemption, there wouldn't have been a failed test to leak.

And that matters to Braun, it doesn't explain why it should matter regarding his punishment.


Strict liability. The way he did it is a violation of the rules. The way he could have done it is within the rules.
   50. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: December 18, 2011 at 02:27 PM (#4018850)
MLB should have a list of pre-screened and pre-approved doctors who would have exclusive authorization to prescribe any sort of drugs that may have restricted substances in them

This strikes me as logistically impossible.

That's why they have basically centralized the system to cover for that. I.e. players go to their regular or team doctors. Upon receipt of a prescription, the player has to notify the Independent Program Administrator, and request a TUE. The IPA then consults with experts of the appropriate field, on whether the treatment suggested by the original doctor is reasonable, and a TUE should be granted.

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