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Braun outcome was likely determined by “chain of custody”

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Ryan Braun

MILWAUKEE — One Milwaukee doctor says we’ll likely never know why Ryan Braun had a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs. One possible explanation — “chain of custody.” But what is that?

Chain of custody describes the handling of one’s drug test — or more specifically, from the time the sample is taken to the time it is tested.

“I’d hesitate to call chain of custody a technicality because essentially what it means is if you can’t establish the chain of custody, you can’t prove the samples that tested positive belong to anyone,” Ryan Spellecy, a bioethicist at the Medical College of Wisconsin said. “If the chain of custody isn’t sound, yes, it would be easy for someone to tamper – you could switch out a sample if you wanted to.”

FOX6 News asked Spellecy if Braun’s case should force Major League Baseball to change its testing policy. “I think the policy is still a good one. It could be more stringent, but how they execute the policy is where I would say they need to take a close look,” Spellecy said.

Major League Baseball has stated it “vehemently” disagrees with the arbitrator’s ruling in the Braun case, but Spellecy says there isn’t much MLB can do — since the sample was handled so poorly.

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