|Hometown||Los Angeles, CA|
Disputed testosterone test On December 10, 2011, a confidential urine test conducted in October 2011 was leaked to ESPN's Outside the Lines. They reported that Braun had tested positive for an elevated level of testosterone caused by a performance-enhancing drug and faced a 50-game suspension. The Daily News quoted a source who said that the test results were "insanely high, the highest ever for anyone who has ever taken a test, twice the level of the highest test ever taken". A second test conducted by an independent laboratory showed normal testosterone levels. Braun appealed the positive drug test in January 2012, and a three-member panel overturned the results on a 2-to-1 vote on February 22, 2012. It was the first time that a MLB player had successfully challenged a drug test result. The arbitration panel, consisting of MLB representative Rob Manfred, players' union lawyer Michael Weiner, and Shyam Das, determined that Braun had raised valid questions about the manner in which test collector Dino Laurenzi, Jr. had handled his sample.
The New York Times wrote that Braun "won on a technicality". Braun's sample was collected and sealed on a Saturday. Laurenzi said that no FedEx delivery center was open, and he subsequently followed established protocol and stored the samples in a Rubbermaid container; he dropped the samples off to an open FedEx center on Monday. Braun, though, said there were at least five FedEx locations within 5 miles that were open until 9 p.m. and there also was a 24-hour location. MLB argued that there was no evidence of tampering of the sample, and the United States Anti-Doping Agency said the testosterone levels in the samples would not grow in a refrigerator over a weekend. MLB's drug-testing program states that the samples should be sent to the laboratory on the same day they are collected "absent unusual circumstance".
Links to Biogenesis clinic and MLB suspension
In February 2013, Yahoo! Sports reported that Braun's name appeared three times in records of Biogenesis of America, a Coral Gables clinic alleged to have distributed performance-enhancing drugs to a number of Major League Baseball players who tested positive for banned substances. One entry noted that Braun owed the clinic between $20,000 and $30,000. Braun's name was not listed next to any specific PEDs, unlike some of the other players mentioned in the records. Braun released a statement maintaining that his attorneys had retained the clinic's operator, Anthony Bosch, as a consultant during his appeal of his positive drug test the previous season, and denied any further dealings with the clinic.
Later that month, ESPN's Outside the Lines obtained a new Biogenesis document from April 2012 listing Braun among three other MLB players with the notation: "MLB Ryan Braun + 1500." An ESPN source said to be familiar with Bosch's operation claimed the list was of players who obtained PEDs from Bosch and their respective balances, with a circle around the plus sign next to a player's name indicating his balance was paid off. In late April, Bosch confirmed to ESPN that Braun's legal team merely consulted with him during Braun's appeal, and confirmed that he never spoke to Braun himself.
On June 4, 2013, ESPN reported that MLB was preparing suspensions for players linked to using PEDs provided by Biogenesis of America, and its founder, Anthony Bosch. ESPN reported that Braun could have been suspended for as many as 100 games if found guilty, although the appeals process could take months and not yield a suspension until 2014.
On July 22, 2013, MLB suspended Braun for the remaining 65 games of the regular season, plus the entire postseason, for his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic. Braun, who will lose $3.25 million as a result, did not appeal the suspension. In a statement, he said, "I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions." ESPN reported that Braun decided to "strike a deal" with MLB after being presented with the evidence against him. Braun was the first superstar to be suspended for performance-enhancing drugs during the peak of his career. Called a "liar", he was heavily criticized by the media and other players, particularly for tarnishing Laurenzi's reputation. In particular, it was later exposed that Braun engaged in a campaign for support from players around the league, accusing Laurenzi Jr. of being an anti-Semite.
Although the standard suspension for a first offense under MLB's drug policy is 50 games, Braun was suspended an additional 15 games for his actions during and after his appeal of the 2011 test. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, MLB officials were particularly angered by a speech Braun made during 2012 spring training in which he attacked Laurenzi's integrity and the integrity of the drug program as a whole. MLB considered Braun's speech, as well as his earlier attacks on Laurenzi, to be conduct detrimental to baseball—an offense punishable under the collective bargaining agreement, not the drug policy. Braun accepted the additional suspension without appeal because of overwhelming evidence in the Biogenesis case. On August 22, Braun released a statement in which he apologized for using PEDs. He admitted he used PED's during the later part of the 2011 season to nurse a nagging injury. The products he used were a cream and a lozenge that would expedite his rehabilitation.
On August 17, 2013 Braun was sued for fraud and defamation by Ralph Sasson, a former close friend with whom Braun attended middle school, high school, and college at the University of Miami. In the lawsuit, Sasson, who claims to be a law student, alleges that he assisted Braun in his original arbitration resulting from a positive drug test in 2011 and that afterwards, Braun refused to pay him. Sasson also alleges that Braun's use of performance enhancing drugs dates back to Braun's days at the University of Miami. After filing the suit, Braun's attorneys attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed, but in January 2014, a Milwaukee County judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit.