As mentioned far and wide, Ryan Braun no longer has a 50 game suspension hanging over his head after an arbitration panel nullfied his MLB-imposed PED penalty. Reached for comment by The Star’s Brendan Kennedy, former World Anti-Doping Association head Dick Pound (above) argues the reigning NL MVP got off, “on a very thin legal technicality that has no substantive value at all,” (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
“He’s running around saying that he’s cleared is a misstatement,” insisted Pound. “Anybody who’s at all neutral in this is going to say, ‘Well, he dodged a bullet with that.’ ”
“This is a 20:1 ratio (of testosterone to epitestosterone) — give me a … break,” Pound said, adding that storing the sample in a fridge over a weekend would not change its contents.
“There was no sign of any tampering, so I don’t understand how a properly formed independent panel could come to the conclusion that that invalidated the test,” Pound said. “It’s not sitting there in the fridge generating false testosterone.”
Pound said Major League Baseball should review its contract with its players regarding performance-enhancing drugs in order to close any loopholes that may be there. But he blames Das, the independent arbitrator, not the league, for what he believes was the wrong decision.
“Frankly, (Das) should have had more sense or more judgment.”
When he wasn’t quoting scripture (and lines from that great religious epic, “The Waterboy”, Rangers OF Josh Hamilton told an assembled Spring Training media throng earlier today that he’s not inclined to let his recent alcohol relapse diminish his bargaining power with Texas. From the Dallas Morning News’ Evan P. Grant :
“The Rangers have done great things for me,” Hamilton said. “Let me ask you a question: Have I done great things for the Rangers? I think I’ve given everything I had. This is still a business. It’s the entertainment business, but it’s still a business.
“I love Texas. I love my fans. I love fans of the Rangers. I love the organization. I love my teammates. I love everything about it. But I’m not going to sit here and say that I owe the Rangers. I don’t feel like I owe the Rangers.”
Hamilton was asked if he would reward himself a long-term contract, if he had the opportunity to decide.
“It’s not for me to make that decision,” Hamilton said. “I hate that this happened. They have been very good to me. But I know I will play baseball. I know God has taken care of me and provided for my family. I’m not going to just jump at whatever might be the first thing offered me. I’m confident in my sobriety. I’m confident in my family’s support. I’m here and I’m going to play baseball.”
J.R. Smith tallied 14 points off the bench in the Knicks’ 102-88 loss in Miami Thursday, but it’s a far more audacious sum that’s making headlines this week, as NIUBBall.com claims the former Nuggets SG accumulated fines in the 7-digit territory during his NBA lockout-inspired stint in China this year (link swiped from Yahoo’s Eric Freeman).
According to a report published by NetEase, Smith had US $1.06 million deducted from his salary over the course of the season for missing practices. Most of the missed practices came during pre-season while his team, Zhejiang Chouzhou, was getting ready for the start of the regular season. The sum was deducted from his salary, a final number that represented about one-third of his total salary.
Zhejiang Chouzhou general manager, Zhao Bing, said that the team was simply enforcing a clause in Smith’s signed contract and that the team gave him ample warning throughout.
“This was the arrangement when he came to the team,” said Zhao. “Every practice we let him know. If he expressed to us that he wasn’t going to come to practice, we’d tell him that in accordance with our contract, we’re deducting money from your salary. And he’d always get back to us with, ‘Whatever. If you’re going to take it, then just take it.’”
The article adds that Zhao Bing repeatedly told J.R. about the seriousness of the situation, but that he continued with the attitude that it was an unimportant issue for him.
Someone familiar with the decision said the appeal went Braun’s way not so much on contesting the result of the test but the testing process itself, some kind of technicality. And it was arbitrator Shyam Das who decided to rule in favor on that technicality, making it a 2-1 decision by the three-man panel.
It is my understanding that MLB officials are not pleased with how this played out and will be making a statement in support of the drug testing process. And they indeed have put out a statement saying they “vehemently disagree” with the arbitrator’s decision.
A source familiar with MLB’s drug policy indicated there were only a few ways to overturn a positive test, such as proving a chain-of-custody issue, a flaw in the collection process or providing proof that the player’s team signed off on the substance. Otherwise, the “strict liability” aspect of the policy makes it extremely difficult to exonerate a player.
Apparently, Braun won his appeal by contesting something in the process itself.
Tampa police pulled over Dukes’ orange Chevy Camaro for a routine traffic stop at Nebraska and Sligh avenues at 1:08 a.m. today, according to an arrest report.
When officers approached him, they saw flakes of marijuana on Dukes’ shirt, the report said. Dukes, 27, who played for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2007, was also trying to eat a small bag of pot, police said.
Dukes, of 5528 Liberty Plain Circle, Tampa, was charged with tampering with physical evidence, possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia and three counts of driving with a canceled or suspended license, according to the sheriff’s office.
Thank you, thespian powerhouse Rich Johnston for the heads up about the existence of the above, forthcoming motion picture. I’m no Pauline Kael, but from this vantage point, Rich and colleague Matt Horseshit have already managed a more impressive filmography than Chris Issak and John Taylor combined.
“No one has ever seen the president of this league do what I did tonight. That’s leadership.” That’s how Westside Baseball President / coach John Kelly describes his taking his lumps over an ill-advised Facebook post following the passing of Whitney Houston (above). ““I could have gone up there and said, ‘kiss my ass,’ ” argues Kelly to the Oaklawn Patch’s Lorraine Swanson, though that’s sort of what he’s doing after the fact.
Kelly told Patch that he made the comment out of frustration that Houston, who publicly battled drug addiction throughout her singing career, was being elevated as children’s role model by the news media.
“I’m so sick if reading about this dumb stupid N—– Whitney Houston..she’s the dumb ass that decided to do drugs n kill herself stay with that woman beater … she blew more $$ up her nose than most of ye will make in yer lifetime … there are kids dying real fathers n mothers fighting for their lives…grow up ye dumb assess…think she’d give a flying f— about u???? Just saying.”
Kelly, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2008 Democratic primary for Cook County Recorder of Deeds, admits to posting the comment on his Facebook page.
“I made the comment,” he said. “I had a bunch of friends and cousins making comments about Whitney Houston. I’m sorry I did it. I deleted the post and then I went and apologized. I apologized 100 times over. This is a personal vendetta against me.”
“We’ve fought wars for the right of freedom of speech,” he continued. “It’s my personal Facebook page. I put stupid stuff on there.”