Reporter on Braun PED test result 'very confident' in story

CREATED Dec 14, 2011

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  • Ryan Braun. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MILWAUKEE – The ESPN reporter that broke the story of Ryan Braun’s positive performance-enhancing drug test stands by his story, and says he’s 100 percent confident in his sources and information.

Mark Fainaru-Wada of ESPN spoke with Wisconsin’s Afternoon News with John Mercure Wednesday. 

“We’ve just stuck to what we know, and what the facts are,” Fainaru-Wada explained to Mercure. “Which is that he was tested in October during the playoffs, and then in late October he found out the result that showed that he had these elevated levels of testosterone. Then [Major League Baseball] had then done a subsequent, more comprehensive test that was policy and determined that, by their testing, he had synthetic testosterone in his system.”

What’s more, Fainaru-Wada says, given the timetable of how things happened, Braun knew he’d tested positive before he was announced as the National League MVP last season.

“The story is obviously something we didn’t take lightly, and we spent a lot of time reporting on it and trying to make sure we had our information, and we feel very confident in the reporting,” Fainaru-Wada said. “We haven’t changed any of it or backed off of any of it. In fact, his people have acknowledged that he tested positive.”

Braun’s camp has told the media he did not take performance-enhancing drugs, which would result in a 50-game suspension, but what the league refers to as a “prohibited substance,” which would result in a 25-game suspension. MLB’s regular season lasts for a total of 162 games.

Fainaru-Wada, however, says that Braun’s argument doesn’t hold up.

“I don’t know of anybody who covers this issue or has been in this world who would suggest that [synthetic testosterone] wouldn’t be a performance-enhancing drug,” Fainaru-Wada told John Mercure. “I don’t know why, given what we know about the facts, why it would be a ‘prohibited substance’ as opposed to a ‘performance enhancer,’ other than perhaps to suggest that this didn’t affect Ryan’s performance and nobody should question the MVP.”

Fainaru-Wada also explained that, if Braun argues he didn’t take performance-enhancing drugs intentionally, that wouldn’t matter to Major League Baseball. MLB has a “strict liability” policy for drugs, meaning intent doesn’t matter. The only exception is if the drugs were hidden in something that the player would have no reason to expect them being hidden in, for example, a candy bar.

Mark Fainaru-Wada came to ESPN in 2007 after reporting for the San Francisco Chronicle. While there, he co-authored the book Game of Shadows with fellow Chronicle reporter Lance Williams, which uncovered the BALCO steroid story in 2004.

Fainaru-Wada and Williams both won the 2004 George Polk award for their reporting on the steroid scandals.