What if Ryan Braun's first positive test and subsequent appeal were never made public?

USA TODAY Sports

When Ryan Braun first tested positive for PEDs and appealed the result, the public should not have known. Does that effect how they feel about Braun now?

I made this point in my reaction post, but I want to open it up for further discussion because I think it's an interesting thing to think about.

Under Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Agreement, we never should have known about Ryan Braun's original positive test in October of 2011, nor would we have heard of his several-months-long appeals process that he ultimately won.

According to the Joint Drug Agreement:

...the Commissioner's office, the Players Association, the Treatment Board, the IPA, the Medical Testing Officer, Club personnel, and all of their members, affiliates, agents, consultants and employees, are prohibited from publicly disclosing information about an individual player's test results or testing history...

Any and all information relating to a Player's involvement in the program, including, but not limited to, the fact or the results of any prohibited substance testing to which the player may be subject, and any discipline imposed upon the player by the Commissioner's Office shall remain strictly confidential.

Decisions of the Arbitration Panel, and the record of proceedings before the panel in matters arising under the Program, shall not be disclosed by the Parties, other than to their respective constituents...

From the Journal-Sentinel:

Under the MLB drug program suspensions are supposed to remain confidential until the appeal is heard and denied, but Braun's drug test was playing out publicly.

So what if the public never knew about Braun's original positive drug test, nor his appeal?

Much of the anger at Ryan Braun right now stems from him "lying" about not taking PEDs. However, without us knowing that he tested positive originally, Braun would never have had to make public statements.

How Braun's case should have played out: Braun tests positive, appeals, wins. And that's it. No press conferences, no national articles, nothing. Braun's name should never have been publicly connected to Performance Enhancing Drugs until the Biogenesis papers were leaked and Braun's name was on them.

While there would not have been National news articles calling for Braun's head, I still think Braun would have been suspended Monday. While the fire wouldn't have publicly been there, MLB was likely still upset that Braun beat their appeal. There was obviously proof enough to do so, so here we are.

What I'm wondering is, would the public reaction be different today if there had been no word of Braun's drug history until more recently?

Much of the anger stems from Braun lying and deceiving the public about using PEDs, but without that original positive test and appeal, he would never have had the opportunity to make those statements publicly.

So imagine that you never knew Braun had originally beaten MLB's system prior to it finally catching up with him. Would you accept his statement released yesterday more genuinely? Would MLB's statement being relatively kind to Braun be taken more at face value? Would Braun be closer to Andy Pettitte on the forgiveness scale, or would he still be closer to Barry Bonds?

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