By the CNN Wire Staff
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun blasted Major League Baseball’s drug testing system Friday, one day after an arbitration board tossed out a 50-game suspension imposed as the result of drug tests conducted last year.
This is a process where players are “100% guilty until proven innocent,” and in this case it “was fatally flawed,” Braun said. “We won because the truth is on my side.”
Braun, the 2011 National League MVP, said he is still considering all possible legal options.
My name’s been “dragged through the mud,” he told reporters. Countless “inaccurate, erroneous, and completely fabricated stories” have been circulated, and the league’s response has been “a little bit sad and disappointing.”
Thursday’s decision marked the first successful appeal of a suspension under Major League Baseball’s anti-drug policy. Braun hailed it as “the the first step in restoring my good name and reputation,” but the league said it “vehemently disagrees” with the ruling.
The 28-year-old Braun led the Brewers to the team’s first division title in three decades in 2011, with a .332 batting average, 33 home runs and 111 runs batted in. He was slapped with the suspension in December after a drug test that the sports network ESPN, citing unidentified sources, said showed high levels of testosterone.
Braun said at the time there were “highly unusual circumstances” that would show his innocence. The arbitration panel apparently agreed, voting 2-1 to overturn the suspension, according to the MLB Players Association.
In a brief statement, the players’ union said the result would not be made public normally — but all parties agreed to release the decision “given the particulars of this case.”
Baseball officials have said drug testing is “essential to the integrity of our game,” and that they “will exhaust all avenues in pursuit of the appropriate discipline” when a player tests positive for banned substances.
A third-party review is part of the process, Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive vice president for labor relations, said in a statement on the Braun decision, and the leagues “have always respected that process.”
However, he added, “Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered” by the panel, led by arbitrator Shyam Das.
CNN’s Alan Silverleib and David Close contributed to this report