As a fan of the Brewers and Ryan Braun, the recent news about Tony Bosch agreeing to talk with Major League Baseball has me feeling a bit like Chief Wiggum at the Kwik-E-Mart. The analogy is perfect because, when you think about it, the two circumstances are almost identical.
Ryan Braun either took PEDs or he didn't. If he juiced then somewhere there is evidence of wrongdoing. Like a perpetually moving hot dog roller, Major League Baseball has been working around the clock looking for proof that Braun violated the league's substance abuse policy. Presumably, they've found the tie they've been looking for with Bosch agreeing to provide testimony. This is problematic for Braun unless Bosch does his Johnny Tightlips impression or Braun is innocent. I have two thoughts on the matter.
First, if Braun cheated and there is evidence proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, then it is impossible to defend him on a moral level. Furthermore, it will be hard to argue against a suspension in practice because the collectively bargained rules are clearly in place. A justified suspension would be devastating for the Brewers because it would be the ultimate downfall for the supposed cornerstone of a long-suffering franchise. Needless to say, I hope Braun walks away from this.
Second, I do not like the extent to which suspected PED users are investigated, and this extends outside of baseball (i.e. Lance Armstrong). The presumption of innocence is of paramount importance in all facets of life, but especially when you are accusing people of wrongdoing. It's troubling how athletes are investigated for crimes long after the alleged dirty deeds were relevant (Roger Clemens) and what's going on with Ryan Braun is far too similar to double jeopardy for my liking. To protect the rights of the players MLB should be restricted in their opportunities to suspend them. In the case of Braun, he failed a test and won the appeal. That should be the end of the story unless there is overwhelming evidence against him (which there very well might be). I'd rather players be presumed innocent and get away with cheating then presumed guilty and suspended due to the words of a disreputable PED peddler.
All that's left to do now is play the waiting game and compulsively do a Google News search for "Ryan Braun." If Braun is suspended, so be it; but MLB better have one hell of a case against him. If "RB 1500" in a notebook is enough to suspend someone for 100 games, I will have a somewhat harder time being a baseball fan.