¬†Yesterday, Major League Baseball player and National League MVP Ryan Braun (is his nickname really the “Hebrew Hammer” as stated in Wikipedia?¬† This amuses me . . . ), successfully appealed his positive drug test before a panel of arbitrators,¬†making him the first ever to do so in Major League Baseball history.¬†¬†¬†Braun was tested on October 1, 2011, and the tester, rather than fedexing the sample to the Montreal testing center immediately, took the sample home and stored it in his fridge over the weekend where both he and his son had access.¬† When the sample was finally tested, the results were not only positive, but three times higher than any result in the history of drug testing.¬† A panel of arbitrators voted 2-1 that such circumstances cast doubt on the reliability of the¬†test, and declined to enforce a 50-game suspension that would have otherwise been imposed.¬†
Various¬†reporters, including Lynn Zinser, Karen Crouse, and Tyler Kepner,¬†have reported that the basis of the decision amounted to a “technicality,”¬†Kepner going so far as to say that notwithstanding the decision, “some sort of banned substance caused¬†[Braun] to fail the test, and if he really has nothing to hide, he needs to say what it was.”¬† In other words, “yeah, the test may have been thrown out as unreliable, but it was still positive and Braun¬†needs to explain why.”¬†¬†
Methinks¬†these reporters are¬†missing a¬†VERY OBVIOUS point.¬†¬†The unreliability of¬†a urine test is not a “technicality,” especially where, as here, that test amounted to the¬†entire case against Braun.¬†¬†There was no confession, no eyewitnesses, no corroborating facts of any kind (at least none that I’ve read about).¬† So if that test is mishandled in such a way as to suggest it is unreliable, that finding goes to the heart of the case against Braun.¬†¬†You could argue¬†“technicality” if, for example,¬†Braun hadn’t been properly notified of the test, or some procedure not going to the reliability of the test hadn’t been followed.¬†¬†But the reliability of the test itself?¬† A sky-high result after the sample was kept¬†in an unsecure location for two days, where a third person had access?¬† That’s no technicality.¬†¬†That’s the whole case.¬†¬†
To suspend a player for 50 games based¬†upon¬†such test would be inherently unfair, and I’m glad the arbitrators declined to do so.¬†¬†But Kepner’s and Zisner’s suggestion that,¬†notwithstanding¬†the unreliability of the test, that the public should consider him guilty anyway, is even more unfair.¬† Braun has, from the beginning, strenuously argued that the test was either contaminated or tampered with.¬† By overturning the test results, the arbitrators essentially agreed that this explanation may have validity.¬† In my eyes, no further explanation from Braun should be required.¬†¬†
Welcome back to baseball, Mr. Braun.
I’ve been revived from my summertime blogger’s-block doldrums by . . . what else? ¬†The Telegraph‘s hilarious photo of Michele Bachmann — the woman lawyer other women lawyers love to hate, and the winner (I still can’t believe it) of the¬†Iowa straw poll (Iowans! (the 4700 that voted for Bachmann, enabling her to claim the win) You’re making the country look bad!) — accompanying a blog post by Toby Harnden. read on
As apparently the last person in America who still loves Roger Clemens, I feel compelled to go off-topic today and address Maureen Dowd’s op-ed piece from Sunday¬†addressing the recent mistrial in the U.S. Government’s case against the Rocket charging him with lying to Congress about his use of steroids and human growth hormones. ¬†The ostensible purpose of Dowd’s piece appeared to be an examination of the case against Clemens in the context of a series of recent high-profile prosecutorial failures (and, to her credit, Dowd takes a minute to give props to Judge Reggie Walton, who is an indisputable judicial badass — and the fact that he overcame some troubled teenage years to become so only serves to make him all the more praiseworthy). read on
I was more inspired than sad today when I read in the New York Times¬†Enid Nemy’s fascinating obit¬† about Betty Ford, who passed away¬†on Friday at the age of 93.¬† Given the¬†current¬†political and societal landscape, where¬†political spouses are in the news for tawdry Twitter tales and¬†Tiffany credit lines, Betty Ford’s life, replete with challenges that resonate at¬†all levels of the social strata — drug and alcohol addiction, breast cancer, death of a spouse — makes me, to borrow from Jack Nicholson’s “Good as It Gets” toolkit, want to be a better woman.¬† read on
The runaway freight train of conservative politics that has taken up the effort to defund Planned Parenthood hit its first speed bump yesterday when U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt (the first African-American federal judge in Indiana history) preliminarily enjoined enforcement of Indiana’s recently-passed defunding law. ¬† read on
On Monday, papers were filed in New York federal court in anticipation of the June sentencing of Danielle S. Chiesi — the¬†former beauty queen turned Wall Street trader who pleaded guilty last year in the insider trading case involving Galleon Group and Raj Rajaratnam (who himself was found guilty by a jury last month). ¬†Chiesi admitted to having sex with men in order to get confidential information — which she kinda had to admit, given the wiretaps federal authorities placed on her phones. ¬†And she wasn’t shy about it either. ¬†Among other things, she admitted on tape that¬†“the chase” for insider information excited her: ¬†“It’s a conquest,” she said. ¬†“It’s mentally fabulous for me.” read on
I read an article¬†in the latest issue of¬†Entertainment Weekly today where¬†Stephen King said¬†he once started a list entitled “25 Things That Piss Me Off” but was unable to come up with more than about a dozen (because he’s so good-natured — I have no such problem).¬† Because I love Stephen King (if you like to write and haven’t read his book “On Writing,” proceed to Amazon now), and because I love a challenge, here is my list of 25 Things¬†That Piss Me Off . . . about being a woman lawyer:
And you thought your week was bad. ¬†Imagine being Cate Edwards. ¬†That’s her in the red sweater, in unfailingly dignified support of her father, jerk-of-the-month club president John Edwards, as he fielded questions after being¬†indicted last week on six felony counts for alleged violations of federal campaign finance laws. ¬† read on
Lebron, D-Wade, Chris Bosh?¬† Love them (How can you not?¬† Unless you’re¬†from Dallas.¬† Or Chicago.¬† Or Boston . . . ).¬† Udonis?¬† Erik Spoelstra?¬† Unsung heroes.¬† Pat Riley?¬† Motivational genius, and impeccably dressed at that.¬† But my favorite member of the Miami Heat organization?¬†¬†Executive Vice President and General Counsel Raquel Libman.¬† Why, you ask?¬† Oh, let me count the ways.¬† For ten years she has flown high¬†as a woman lawyer in the male-dominated stratosphere of the NBA.¬† A graduate of the¬†University of Miami School of Law (oh, yeah, and Yale undergrad),¬†a 45-year-old mother of three,¬†an avid reader, and one of only¬†three female general counsels in the entirety of the NBA, this women lawyer personifies confidence, independence, and professional competence.¬† And she is supportive of other women lawyers to boot.¬† And one of her sons is a ballet dancer (don’t ask me why, but I love that).¬†
I recently saw Ms. Libman¬†interviewed by Marcia Redmon¬†at the National Association of Women Lawyers¬†mid-year meeting at the Epic in Miami.¬†¬†She spoke at length about her background, her successes, and her challenges.¬† Throughout it all, Libman entertained and inspired.¬† Her overriding message?¬† Don’t be afraid to take chances.¬†¬†Don’t sell yourself short.¬† Trust in yourself and believe in yourself, even when¬†no one else does.
Raquel Libman — yet another stellar hire¬†for Miami!¬†
LET’S GO HEAT!
The story regarding a trial lawyer’s objection¬†to a¬†“large-breasted” woman seated at his¬†opposing counsel’s table¬† just keeps getting better and better.¬†¬†Because I can’t improve upon Above the Law’s coverage,¬†I will simply refer you to¬†it here.¬†¬†Enjoy!