Saying “my name has been dragged through the mud,” National League most valuable player Ryan Braun reported to spring training with the Milwaukee Brewers in Phoenix on Friday and declared he had been vindicated, a day after his 50-game suspension for a positive drug test was overturned by an arbitrator.
Braun’s teammates sat in the stands, in uniform, as he held a news conference on the field at the team’s training complex. Braun said that, since what was supposed to be a confidential appeal was played out in public, “I’ve lived this nightmare every day for the last four months.”
Braun detailed how the urine sample he provided on Oct. 1, the day the Brewers opened the playoffs, was not delivered to FedEx until Oct. 3. Baseball’s drug agreement calls for samples to be delivered to FedEx on the day they are collected.
“At the end of the day the truth prevailed,” he said. “I’m a victim of a process that completely broke down and failed in the way that it was applied to me in the case. As players, we’re held to a standard of 100% perfection regarding the program, and everybody else associated with that program should be held to the same standard. We’re a part of a process where you’re 100% guilty until proven innocent. It’s the opposite of the American judicial system.”
Braun learned Oct. 19 his sample was positive for elevated testosterone, which he said was at a ratio that was the highest ever recorded in baseball’s testing program.
ESPN reported the positive test in December.
“I tried to handle the entire situation with honor, with integrity, with class, with dignity and with professionalism because that’s who I am and that’s how I’ve always lived my life,” he said. “If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I’d be the first one to step up and I say I did it. By no means am I perfect, but if I’ve ever made any mistakes in my life, I’ve taken responsibility for my actions. I truly believe in my heart and I would bet my life that the substance never entered my body at any point.”
He criticized the media for leaking the positive test, saying there had been “many inaccurate, erroneous, incomplete and fabricated stories.”
Three share Mayakoba lead
Daniel Summerhays birdied the final hole for a six-under 65 and a share of the second-round lead with Will Claxton and Greg Owen in the wind-swept Mayakoba Golf Classic at Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Claxton, the first-round leader, shot a 68, and Owen had his second straight 67 to match Summerhays at eight-under 134.
Katie Futcher and Jenny Shin each shot five-under 67 in the HSBC Women’s Champions at Singapore to grab a share of the lead with first-round leader Angela Stanford.
Jurgen Melzer, playing with a broken big toe on his right foot, upset top-seeded John Isner, 6-3, 7-6 (6), on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships at Memphis, Tenn. The Austrian will play Radek Stepanek, a 7-6 (5), 6-0 winner over American Sam Querrey. Milos Raonic beat Olivier Rochus and will play Benjamin Becker, who beat Lukasz Kubot .
Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki lost in the semifinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships in the United Arab Emirates, her game undone by mistakes in a 7-6 (3), 7-5 defeat to Julia Goerges. Goerges will play for the title Saturday against Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic, 6-2, 2-6, 6-0.
USA Volleyball will host the NORCECA men’s volleyball Olympic qualification tournament May 7-12 at the Pyramid at Long Beach State. The winner of the eight-team event will earn a spot in the London Olympics this summer. The defending Olympic champion U.S. team is looking to qualify for its seventh straight Olympics. Cuba, Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic are the other competing countries.
Katie Uhlaender has given the United States its second gold medal at the skeleton world championships since the women’s competition debuted in 2000, winning the competition at Lake Placid, N.Y. Uhlaender beat Mellisa Hollingsworth of Canada by 0.17 of a second.
Didier Cuche gave his Swiss fans a farewell victory in a World Cup super-G race Friday at Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Bode Miller missed the race because of a minor knee injury.