12th of April 2012 Author: Johnny Karp
Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Players Association have finally sealed the gap within the collection system of the Joint Drug Agreement which resulted in the suspension of Milwaukee Brewers left-fielder, Ryan Braun, being overturned.
In October 2011, Braun failed a drug test and was suspended for 50 games. In February, an independent arbitrator reversed the decision based on the chain of events that had occurred and ultimately determined that the sample had not been secured properly.
The sample was collected and expected to be sent to the drug lab immediately. The Federal Express office in Milwaukee was unable to provide next day delivery service so the collector opted to bring it home and send it off two days later. Braun's representatives ran with this breach in the delivery process arguing that the sample was contaminated.
Following the decision, Braun referred to a "fatally flawed' system. An addition to the Joint Drug Agreement now states that samples must be shipped to a drug lab the same day that they are collected. Dino Laurenzi Jr., the collector of Braun's sample, claims that he had not tampered with the sample and stored it in his basement. According to him, there were no FedEx offices available within a 50 mile radius that could guarantee shipping that particular Saturday or Sunday. Despite this, it appears that drug tests will continue to be conducted on Saturdays.
"We made some immediate changes in the wake of the Braun decision and are discussing further adjustments," said Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president of labor relations and human resources.
Union chief, Michael Weiner, recently spoke at a National Press Club lunch and indicated that both sides formed an agreement regarding change to the policy for submission of testing samples. He said, "The [urine samples] have to be sent out the same day. We're in the process of discussing some other things."
"Right now, there are no other changes," he added.
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