Villanueva talks about Braun…
Right-hander Carlos Villanueva held court with a group of reporters on Friday morning to discuss the Ryan Braun situation. Why Villanueva? Well, because he is a former teammate of Braun’s but more importantly he is an alternate represenative on the Players’ Association Executive Board.
Here’s what he had to say about Braun winning his appeal to avoid serving a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance.
Your take on Braun — any inside info?
“No, not really. I was actually asking some of the guys that know a little bit more about what exactly was it that happened. I know that he was not guilty. Obviously we’ve all seen that.
“But my understanding is that they went under the arbitrator and the third party determined it wasn’t conclusive enough.
Chain of custody problems…
“Doesn’t sound very professional, I guess. But in the end it’s good for Braun, it’s good for the Brewers. As long as it was done under the rules then we’re all for it.”
Prevailing feeling Braun won on technicality…
“I’m waiting for him to saying something. But at the same time we have to remember that that information should never have been out, should never have been public. We shouldn’t even be talking about this now. The fact that it came out, before he accepted the MVP and everything, and of course him being the MVP, I imagine it was a very difficult off-season for him, I guess.”
“He’s happy now.”
Integrity of system…
“Everybody is going to have their opinion, obviously, I’m one of the guys that every time I get tested I check the numbers and everything a hundred times, I ask the guys ‘how many times have one of you
messed up and actually done something wrong?’ You always get ‘Oh, if that’s happened, it’s happened once.’ But we’re human, there’s human error in everything we do. And of course even though it might be 99 out of 100 times they do it right, that one time it might affect somebody the way it apparently affected Braun.
“Nobody wants that cloud hanging over their name, and I played with him for like four or five years, and when he was in the minor-leagues, and he’s always been a super worker and a guy that has shown that he has integrity. Hopefully after this he can start cleaning up his name and keep working like he did before.”
Affects his name…
“It does, because nowadays the opinion of people with all the social media out there, there’s always going to be people doubting, ‘Oh, he got off because he’s Braun, because he’s the MVP.’ Everyone is
entitled to their opinion. The fact of the matter is he had nothing to do with the outcome. It was three parties, they decided he’s not guilty and I’m sure he’ll take that and go about his business.
Does baseball need to look at system…
“Oh yeah, and I’m very sure that whatever happened in this case, we’ll take very, very big measures to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We learn from mistakes, it hasn’t happened before but it was
bound to happen I guess. It happened now, you correct the things that need correction and like I was saying with the HGH test, (the urine sample) is supposed to be a simple test, it’s been done forever, and there’s error in that.
“Imagine bringing in a more difficult testing system and a more difficult thing doing it with blood and everything. That’s why things take time, but in the end, as long as we can go back and correct ourselves.”
“Exactly, you need the majority. That’s why we have a negotiating committee, that’s why it’s the Players’ Association and the MLB, there’s not one single person making decisions it’s everyone
together. If it’s eight out of 10 or nine out of 10 then you have the support of the people you need to get it done.”
How do you stop leaks…
“You hire different people, hire a different lab.”
Suspicions on leak?
“I don’t know. I’m hoping it wasn’t the person that tested him because that wouldn’t be good for anybody. Especially for us because it creates doubt. Now everybody that does the test will be thinking
about that. You don’t want to be all nervous, it’s a simple urine test and now I have to be worried that they might mess up my test but you have to trust the system. You have to trust MLB in conjunction with the MLBPA are going to clean it up. That’s part of it, people mess up, it happens I guess.”
Do you think you there needs to be an explanation of arbitrator’s decision?
“I don’t think [Braun] has anything to say, really. I don’t necessarily want to hear from him. I want to hear from somebody, maybe the arbitrator.”
He’s got 30 days but report not made public…
“If I was just a regular fan, I would want to know a little more about the situation, because I’m sure, like me, a lot of people don’t really understand what happened in the middle. We know the initial and the final answer, but just for our own peace of mind, to try to understand the process a little more. Sometimes for us to understand the process, something like this has to happen, so that way more details come out. If you get tested and nothing ever happens, you really don’t have any questions about the matter.
“But because it was such a high-profile player, it raises some questions. But I don’t think it’s going to be that big of a deal with people saying, ‘Oh, the integrity of the tests …’ It happened. Hopefully
it’s an isolated incident and whoever messed up, get rid of him and get somebody competent to do their job.”
Put yourself in Braun’s shoes?
“He’s definitely feeling relieved, I imagine. I don’t think good or bad because I don’t anything good can come out from having your name out there, especially how things have gone in the last couple years. We’ve cleaned up our sport a lot from the steroid era to now. Only a handful of players are now testing positive.
“But I read one of his statements yesterday and he said it was now time for him to clean up his good name, and he can say that, because obviously the decision was made that he isn’t guilty.”