(Image: AP/Jacquelyn Martin)
All baseball fans know where they stand on Ryan Braun. He has always proclaimed his innocence, but the fact that he did fail a drug test and has never completely explained why…well, you can see why some folks would not give him the benefit of doubt. If Braun has used PEDs, he has every incentive to lie about it to protect his reputation, his ability to play, and his paycheck.
It’s worth keeping in mind that erstwhile Biogenesis honcho Tony Bosch has some incentives to lie as well – not least of which is intimidation by MLB. If Bosch’s evidence is as damning as MLB seems to think it is – given the lengths they are willing to go for it – I would suggest that they ought to make it available to general public.
JSOnline’s Tuesday story about the latest developments in the Biogenesis affair describes the factors that may be influencing Bosch’s decision to come forward:
That [ESPN] report assumes that former clinic operator Tony Bosch would provide proof that Braun and other major-leaguers purchased PEDs from the clinic. The real news was that Bosch, faced with the prospect of lawsuits and possible prosecution, cut a deal with MLB to talk about his association with players, a huge breakthrough in the investigation.
That arrangement came with the promise of MLB to drop litigation against Bosch, who reportedly is financially strapped. ESPN reported that MLB also would put in a good word for Bosch should law enforcement agencies decide to bring charges against him and also indemnify him for any liability arising from his cooperation.
Not to get all political, but a primary drawback of the U.S. tort system is that no mechanisms exist to discourage predatory lawsuits by powerful parties. Even if you are innocent, you can go bankrupt defending yourself. If reports are accurate, and Bosch is indeed financially strapped, he might have an incentive to tell MLB what they want to hear, if only to stop them from involving him in protracted (and expensive) legal proceedings.
As for the idea that MLB might be able to influence the prosecution of Bosch by law enforcement agencies – it seems wholly inappropriate that a private entity like MLB would have that power. The fact that they apparently do raises serious questions about civil liberties violations. Based on current information, one could reasonably draw the conclusion that Bosch is being threatened with financial ruination and possible criminal penalties if he does not “cooperate” with MLB. In the face of this kind of coercion, Bosch has every incentive to lie.
Given MLB’s behavior in this case, not to mention the possibility that 20 players might be suspended, Bosch’s evidence must be made available to the general public. Braun and other players need to be held accountable if they violated MLB’s drug policy. But if reports are accurate, and MLB is using its power to influence law enforcement, it needs to be held accountable as well.