A source with knowledge of Braun's test result said that his MLB test was positive for a banned substance, but not a steroid or drug. Braun may argue that he ingested dietary supplements tainted with testosterone or testosterone-boosting ingredients not listed on the label. The supplements would presumably have to be very tainted to produce what sources say was his extremely high T:E ratio.
According to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the process was supposed to remain confidential, when Braun learned of his positive test in October he voluntarily took another test at an independent lab that showed normal testosterone levels. Neither Braun's spokesman nor his attorney immediately returned messages asking whether Braun's voluntary test was analyzed for banned substances that might still be detectable even once the T:E ratio had dropped.
It is unlikely that Braun will argue, as some have speculated, that he inadvertently ingested dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, in a dietary supplement. DHEA is converted in the body to testosterone, but is not banned by MLB. Since the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, DHEA has been legal to sell over the counter. (It can be found on plenty of labels at GNC or Vitamin Shoppe.) DHEA can elevate testosterone levels, but it has a specific metabolite that anti-doping laboratories look for, so the World Anti-Doping Association-accredited lab in Montreal, where Braun's test was analyzed after the initial high testosterone result, would have been able to tell if DHEA was the culprit.
Braun's voluntary test -- which showed normal testosterone levels -- came a few weeks after his positive test, and is expected to be part of his defense at arbitration. A source suggested that because Braun had passed previous tests and then passed his voluntary test, the fact that the one test produced such an extraordinarily high testosterone level may be used to suggest a problem with the testing or accidental one-time ingestion of a banned substance.
According to drug testing experts, though, passing a subsequent test is not, in and of itself, a valid defense and actually fits the pattern of some previous doping cases. US Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart has no specific knowledge of the Braun case, but says that a testosterone level that goes from normal, to high, to normal is typical of someone on a steroid cycle. "After a person stops using, the T:E ratio" -- that's the testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio, which is 1:1 in most people, and above 4:1 in positive tests -- "goes back down to normal levels, and that could be in a matter of days or hours. It depends on how much they used, how long they've been using, and their own individual metabolism." Research done by German scientists showed that one particular drug boosted a patient's T:E ratio above 80:1 before it dropped back to normal only 12 hours later.
...a testosterone level that goes from normal, to high, to normal is typical of someone on a steroid cycle.
This is what I was thinking after I read about him taking a second test. It's like getting caught with DUI and then two weeks later asking to retake the test. A lot of this stuff can be out of your system within that time.
Whether he did it or not, I am not going to be the judge of that but in the end he will be convicted by the public. I don't see him ever winning another MVP award or really anything after this. Maybe I am wrong but the way the voters are leaving guys off the Hall of Fame ballot because they THINK that person was using says that they don't need any actual evidence to convict you in their minds. Then you actually have a positive test (whether it gets thrown out or not), you are pretty much done. I personally don't agree with all of this and think that the players should be put in the Hall of Fame but I just don't see it happening.
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Skin Blues wrote:Somehow I think Braun testing positive still has a better chance to get into the HOF than McGwire, Sosa, or Bonds. Very little chance of actually being better than any of them though.
If you take PEDs, steroids, etc, out of the equation (which at this point is impossible), I think he has the raw talent to be better than Sosa and McGwire. Perhaps not Bonds.
That's kind of assuming that Braun hasn't been methodically doping throughout his career though, right? Because I think it's pretty clear in the case of Sosa, McGwire, and Bonds that they started using during their careers thereby making it easier to discern the extent of their natural talent.
How do you know when they started using? McGwire admitted to starting in 1989. For all we know, all of them used during their entire careers. Or not at all. We know no more about their usage than about Braun's. And you can pretty much guarantee Braun's career numbers won't be anywhere close to those three.
baseball77 wrote:That's kind of assuming that Braun hasn't been methodically doping throughout his career though, right? Because I think it's pretty clear in the case of Sosa, McGwire, and Bonds that they started using during their careers thereby making it easier to discern the extent of their natural talent.
Fair point. I guess my reasoning is simply that, PEDs, steroids or not, whatever you might be taking isn't helping you put the bat on the ball. It may be helping you hit for more power, or recover more quickly from injury or muscle fatigue, but the raw skill set still has to be there.
I understand that it may be flawed logic, but that is where I was coming from.
EWeaver wrote:I've heard that the word on the street is: a steroid cream used to treat/control herpes was the cause of the test result.
Steroidal creams can be used to treat types of dermatitis, eczema for example.
These creams are in a family called corticosteroids, which function quite differently from anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are the one's that boost testosterone levels and can enhance performance for athletes.
FYI- There is no steroid cream that is used to treat herpes. Topical herpes treatments are limited to Zovirax and over the counter (OTC) Abreva. Both of which are antivirals, not steroids.