Earlier this week, an unscientific ESPN poll asked fans if they believe Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun's denials that he has used performance-enhancing drugs. Overall, 57% said they didn't believe his original denial in 2012 and don't believe him now, with only 9% saying they believed him both times. In Wisconsin, 42% trust Braun both times and 27% believe him neither time. Nationwide, 18% say they don't know what to believe, which lines up pretty well with Wisconsin's 16%.
Braun, a five-time All-Star and 2011 National League MVP, has never failed a drug test. Many dispute that as a technicality and point to a 2011 urine test that showed elevated levels of synthetic testosterone. But an arbitrator threw those test results out after it was revealed that the tester had mishandled Braun's sample.
Earlier this year, Braun's name surfaced in an investigation by Miami New Times tying Biogenesis, a South Florida anti-aging clinic, to several players. Major League Baseball, led by commissioner and former Brewers owner Bud Selig, is pressuring Biogenesis director Tony Bosch to turn over evidence and provide testimony that would allow it to suspend Braun and others for as many as 100 games each. Reports indicate it's getting close.
So what happens then? Likely an appeals process during which attorneys on both sides will discredit each other. Such a process might never result in any clarity. The cases of Roger Clemens and Lance Armstrong have taught us that wealthy, charismatic, proud athletes tied to PED usage rarely come clean or outright confess, perhaps hoping that any uncertainty will allow some to believe they weren't frauds.