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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Brewers' Ryan Braun Suspended for Remainder of 2013 Season

A front-page report at the New York Times, "Doping Tarnishes Baseball Again as Brewers’ Braun Is Suspended":

Three years after Major League Baseball’s commissioner declared the so-called steroid era “clearly a thing of the past,” the sport faces persistent doping problems similar to those that have crippled cycling and track and field.

The latest baseball star-turned-culprit: Ryan Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers slugger and winner of the National League’s Most Valuable Player award in 2011. Baseball announced Monday that he had been suspended for the remainder of the season — 65 games — for violating its antidoping code.

Braun, 29, failed a drug test in 2011 but avoided punishment on appeal. This time, he was ensnared in Major League Baseball’s sweeping investigation of an anti-aging clinic in South Florida that baseball officials believe distributed performance-enhancing drugs. His punishment raises the specter of suspensions for more than a dozen other players who have been connected to the clinic, including Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees.

Braun, who will forfeit nearly half of his $8.5 million salary, said in a statement issued by the league that he would not contest the suspension — though he did not explicitly confess to doping.

“As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect,” Braun’s statement said. “I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers’ organization.”

Baseball was forced to acknowledge a pervasive doping problem when George J. Mitchell, a former majority leader of the Senate, conducted an extensive investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport. His report, published in 2007, exposed rampant use of drugs by major leaguers.

In the wake of that report, Commissioner Bud Selig strengthened baseball’s drug-testing program, created an investigative arm to pursue doping offenses and heralded a new, clean era for the sport.

Since then, about a dozen major league players have been suspended for positive tests and others have been linked to doping, indicating that baseball, like many sports in which athletes are enticed to gain a competitive edge, is having trouble removing drugs from the game. Braun’s hitting prowess enabled him to earn a contract with the Brewers that runs through 2020 and totals more than $145 million.
Also at ESPN, "Braun Suspended For Remainder of Season."

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