Braun says he’s a victim of a “process that completely broke down”

PHOENIX (AP) — Saying “my name has been dragged through the mud,” NL MVP Ryan Braun has reported to spring training with the Milwaukee Brewers a day after his 50-game suspension for a positive drug test was overturned by an arbitrator.

VIDEO ABOVE COURTESY OF MLB NETWORK

Braun’s teammates sat in the stands, in uniform, as he held a news conference Friday on the field at the team’s spring training complex.

Braun criticized the media for leaks of the positive test, saying that for the person accused, it means “you’re 100 percent guilty until proven innocent.” But, he says, “at the end of the day the truth prevailed.”

He says, “I would bet my life the substance never entered my body at any point.”

Braun tested positive in October for elevated testosterone.

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

“Major League Baseball runs the highest quality drug testing program of any professional sports organization in the world. It is a joint program, administered by an independent program administrator selected by the Commissioner’s Office and the MLBPA.

With regards to the breach of confidentiality regarding this case, both the Commissioner’s Office and the MLBPA have investigated the original leak of Ryan Braun’s test, and we are convinced that the leak did not come from the Commissioner’s Office.

The extremely experienced collector in Mr. Braun’s case acted in a professional and appropriate manner. He handled Mr. Braun’s sample consistent with instructions issued by our jointly retained collection agency. The Arbitrator found that those instructions were not consistent with certain language in our program, even though the instructions were identical to those used by many other drug programs – including the other professional sports and the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Our program is not ‘fatally flawed.’ Changes will be made promptly to clarify the instructions provided to collectors regarding when samples should be delivered to FedEx based on the arbitrator’s decision. Neither Mr. Braun nor the MLBPA contended in the grievance that his sample had been tampered with or produced any evidence of tampering.”

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