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Journal of Case Studies www.sfcrjcs.org May 2016, Vol. 34, No. 1, p. 102-106 ISSN 2162-3171 Ryan Braun’s Suspension Britt Shirley, The University of Tampa This case study was prepared by the author and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. The views presented here are those of the author based on his professional judgment and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for Case Research. The views are based on professional judgment. Copyright © 2016 by the Society for Case Research and the authors. No part of this work may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means without the written permission of the Society for Case Research. Introduction In December 2011, a report surfaced that Ryan Braun, a left fielder for Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) Milwaukee Brewers, had tested positive for use of a performance enhancing drug (PED). The use of PEDs such as steroids was banned by MLB, because they could give players who use them an advantage over players who do not. If the report was true and Braun was guilty of use of the PEDs, he would be suspended for the first 50 games of the 2012 season. When asked a few years earlier about alleged PED use by Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, Braun said, “The best thing he can do is come out, admit to everything, and be completely honest. The situation will die a lot faster if he tells the whole truth” (Fainaru-Wada & Quinn, 2011). Less than one month before the report, Braun had been named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the National League. Braun won the award over Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers by a margin of 388 votes to 332 (Lacques, 2011). He had reached the top of his profession, but had he gotten there by violating the rules of the game? If he had, who would be affected by his actions, and how would he be able to regain their trust? The 2011 Season The Milwaukee Brewers’ 2011 baseball season was one of the most successful in franchise history on and off the field. While their season ended in disappointment—the team lost the National League Championship series to the St. Louis Cardinals, a division rival and the eventual World Series champion—the team won 96 games and the National League’s Central Division title. In addition, they set a franchise record for attendance, drawing over 3 million fans to their home games (“MLB baseball finishes,” 2011). Earlier in 2011, the Brewers signed Braun to a contract that would keep him in Milwaukee through the 2020 season. Even with the loss of free agent Cecil Fielder, one of the team’s other top players, the Brewers had the reigning National League MVP under contract for nine more seasons and the rest of their core players signed for the next season. There was reason for optimism among Brewers fans, a group that had not seen a World Series since the team moved to Milwaukee more than 40 years earlier. The Positive Test and Braun’s Appeal Page 102 Journal of Case Studies www.sfcrjcs.org May 2016, Vol. 34, No. 1, p. 102-106 ISSN 2162-3171 Braun’s positive test was obtained from a urine sample taken while the Brewers were in the playoffs. He insisted that the test was a mistake. Braun and other MLB players were tested regularly for use of PEDs and other banned substances. In Braun’s case, he had been tested not only since he entered the major leagues in 2007, but also while he played minor league baseball before that. He had never had a positive test before the one that was reported in December 2011 (Fainaru-Wada & Quinn, 2011). Braun appealed the findings of the test and the suspension that would have gone with it. He argued that “protocol had not been followed in the testing,” and questioned “the chain of custody and collection procedure” of the sample that was taken (“Ryan Braun wins,” 2012). Specifically, Braun and his representatives questioned why the man who collected the urine sample kept it in his home for nearly two days instead of immediately shipping it to a lab for testing. There was no evidence that anyone had tampered with the sample. However, because there were questions about the chain of custody, there were also questions as to whether the sample that tested positive actually belonged to Ryan Braun. MLB argued that, because the sample was sealed, the collector “acted in a professional and appropriate manner” (Quinn & Fainaru-Wada, 2011). The arbitrator who heard the case and arguments from Braun and MLB overturned the findings and the 50-game suspension. Braun stated that the ruling was “the first step in restoring [his] good name and reputation,” and that “the truth is on our side” (“Ryan Braun wins,” 2012). He also made the following statement about the positive test: There are a lot of things that we heard about the collection process, the collector and some other people involved in the process that have been concerning to us. But as I’ve dealt with the situation, I know what it’s like to be wrongly accused of something, so for me to wrongly accuse somebody wouldn’t help (Withers, 2012). In the process of the appeal, the identity of the man who collected the sample in question was leaked to the media. Dino Laurenzi, the collector whose conduct Braun had suggested was “concerning,” issued a statement in his defense. He refuted the claims about the protocol not being followed and the samples being out of his possession. Further, he stated that the samples had been stored correctly and requested that further questions be directed to his attorney. (Thompson, 2012) Braun played the entire 2012 season, posting numbers similar to those in the previous season. However, the Brewers missed the playoffs, and he finished second in the National League MVP voting. The Confession The first couple of months of the 2013 baseball season did not go according to plan for the Brewers. They limped into June at the bottom of the Central Division standings. To make matters worse, ESPN reported that MLB was considering suspensions for about 20 players, including Ryan Braun. According to the report, these players were suspected of having connections to a Miami-area clinic that had allegedly distributed PEDs. The report also stated Page 103 Journal of Case Studies www.sfcrjcs.org May 2016, Vol. 34, No. 1, p. 102-106 ISSN 2162-3171 that suspensions for Braun and other players might be for 100 games, because of connections to the clinic on top of their previous denials (Quinn, 2013). When asked about the report by a group of reporters, Braun maintained his innocence, though not quite as forcefully has he had in 2011: I’ve already addressed everything related to the Miami situation. I addressed it in Spring Training. I will not make any further statements about it. The truth has not changed. I don’t know the specifics of the story that came out today. I’ve already addressed it, I’ve already commented on it and I’ll say nothing further about it. I hope that you guys can respect that (Rosiak, 2013). A few days after the report, Braun was out of the Brewers’ lineup because of a thumb injury. That injury led to him being placed on the disabled list and missing the rest of June as well as the first week of July. By the time Braun returned to the field on July 9, the Brewers had the second worst record in the entire National League. Braun’s return was short-lived. On July 22, MLB suspended him for the remainder of the 2013 season. The suspension came after Braun met with MLB investigators who presented the evidence they had against him. Braun and his representatives negotiated the suspension for the remainder of the season—a 65-game suspension without pay—instead of the potential 100-game suspension (Axisa, 2013). After the suspension was announced, Braun released the following statement: As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it is has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed—all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love (Axisa, 2013). The loss of their best player doomed an already bad 2013 season for the Brewers. They spent the rest of the season battling the rival Chicago Cubs for last place in the Central Division. They also had to be concerned about the impact of the suspension and the poor season on their fans. Their home attendance was down by over 15 percent from 2011 (Thomas, 2013). Late in the 2013 season, there was a report that Braun had made comments to other MLB players in 2012 about the man who had collected the positive sample during the 2011 playoffs. Braun claimed that Dino Laurenzi was a fan of the Chicago Cubs. More serious was the allegation that the collector was anti-Semitic; Braun’s father was Jewish. Laurenzi and those who knew him denied the claim that he was anti-Semitic. However, the report was another negative against Page 104 Journal of Case Studies www.sfcrjcs.org May 2016, Vol. 34, No. 1, p. 102-106 ISSN 2162-3171 Braun among fans and players, including Matt Kemp who “told reporters people in the game felt ‘betrayed’ and that he was ‘disappointed’” (Passan, 2013). Looking Ahead Ryan Braun’s professional career had been interrupted at the age of 29. His achievements on the baseball diamond were being called into question because of his use of PEDs. In addition, his reputation had been damaged by his repeated denials after the positive test. Whether he would be able to return to the level of performance that won him the MVP award in 2011 remained to be seen. The more immediate concern was what he could do to repair his reputation and regain the trust of those who had been affected by his use of PEDs. Page 105 Journal of Case Studies www.sfcrjcs.org May 2016, Vol. 34, No. 1, p. 102-106 ISSN 2162-3171 References Axisa, M. (2013, July 22). Brewers’ Ryan Braun, former MVP, suspended from MLB for drugs. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57594969/brewers-ryan-braunformer-mvp-suspended-from-mlb-for-drugs/ Fainaru-Wada, M., & Quinn, T. J. (2011, December 12). Ryan Braun tests positive for PED. Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/7338271/ryan-braun-milwaukeebrewers-tests-positive-performance-enhancing-drug Lacques, G. (2011, November 22). Brewers’ Ryan Braun named NL MVP. Retrieved from http://content.usatoday.com/communities/dailypitch/post/2011/11/ryan-braun-nl-mvpmilwaukee-brewers/1 MLB finishes 2011 with fifth highest attendance ever. (2011, September 29). Retrieved from http://mlb.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20110929&content_id=2 5386600&vkey=pr_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb Passan, J. (2013, August 18). Ryan Braun tried to discredit urine collector by reaching out to fellow MLB players. Retrieved from http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ryan-braun-tried-todiscredit-urine-collector-in-calls-to-mlb-stars-021053235.html Quinn, T. J., Gomez, P., & Fish, M. (2013, June 5). MLB seeks to suspend A-Rod, Braun. Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/9301536/major-league-baseballsuspend-18-players-including-alex-rodriguez-ryan-braun-part-miami-investigation Rosiak, T. (2013, June 4). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/210193511.html Ryan Braun extended through 2020. (2011, April 22). Retrieved from http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=6403833 Ryan Braun wins appeal of suspension. (2012, February 24). Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7608360/milwaukee-brewers-ryan-braun-wins-appeal50-game-suspension Thompson, T., & Red, C. (2012, February 28). Braun’s sample collector defends actions. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/dino-laurenzi-jr-handledryan-braun-drug-sample-defends-actions-hires-attorney-article-1.1029953 Withers, T. (2012, February 24). Ryan Braun Statement: ‘At The End Of The Day The Truth Prevailed’ (VIDEO). Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/24/ryanbraun-statement-spring-training_n_1299739.html Page 106 Ethics Assignment Due Sunday, April 2 at 11:59 p.m. Required Read the case study, “Ryan Braun’s Suspension” and write a one-page, single-spaced essay that answers the following questions in the context of the essay: 1. What ethical lapses did Ryan Braun commit? Explain why you consider each of these to be an ethical lapse. 2. Of the ethical lapses that you identified in Question #1, which was the most serious? Justify your answer. 3. Which three stakeholders, in your opinion, were most negatively affected by Ryan Braun’s actions? Explain how each was specifically affected by these actions. Expository Essays The type of essay you will be writing is often referred to as an expository essay. One of the key elements of expository essays is conciseness. This essay should be single-spaced and is limited to one page in length. I will stop reading after one page, so only include what really needs to be said. Do not attempt to circumvent this requirement by using narrow margins, small fonts, etc. One-inch margins are required, and a standard font (such as Times New Roman 12) must be used. Make sure your line spacing is single space with no additional spacing between lines. Skip a line between paragraphs. Please note that you must submit an essay that answers the questions at the end of the case, not a list of answers to the questions. Purdue Owl provides a good resource for writing these essays. Their section on expository essays (http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/685/02/) explains some of the important parts of this type of essay. I also recommend looking over the sections on “Conciseness” on the left side of the page. These resources can help if you find yourself having difficulty keeping your essay to one page. Another excellent resource is the Saunders Writing Center in 323 Plant Hall. You can get more information about the center, including its hours, at http://www.ut.edu/academicsupport/saunders/. Submission Instructions Your document must be saved as a Microsoft Word file (“.doc” or “.docx”) and send to me via email no later than 11:59pm on Sunday April 2, 2017. This is an individual assignment. I will use Turnitin.com to check the originality of your submission. Failure to do your own work or to protect your document from others is a violation of the University of Tampa’s Academic Integrity Policy. Grading Rubric for Evaluating the Ethics Assignment (35 points) Topics Question One: Ethical Lapses (8 points) Did not complete Did not correctly identify any ethical lapses (0 points) Question Two: Worst Lapse (8 points) Did not discuss which lapse was worst (0 points) Question Three: Stakeholders (8 points) Did not correctly identify any stakeholders (0 points) Grammar and Spelling (6 points) Essay had at least six spelling or grammatical errors that significantly detracted from content (0 points) The essay was longer than one page, and questions were not answered in the context of the essay. (0 points) The essay was only submitted to one link, or it was in an unrecognizable format that needed to be resubmitted. (0 points) Organization and Mechanics (3 points) Submission (2 points) Does not meet expectations Correctly identified one ethical lapse, or identified more than one ethical lapse but also included incorrect ethical lapses (4 – 5 points) Identified which lapse was worst, but did not provide a discussion supporting the choice (4 – 5 points) Correctly identified one stakeholder and the impact the ethical lapses had on them, or correctly identified two or three stakeholders but did not identify the impacts (4 – 5 points) Essay had three to five spelling or grammatical errors that detracted from the content (2 – 3 points) The essay was longer than one page, or questions were not answered in the context of the essay. (1 point) Meets Expectations Correctly identified more than one ethical lapse, or identified all of the ethical lapses but also included an incorrect ethical lapse (6 – 7 points) Identified which lapse was worst and provided a reasonable discussion supporting the choice (6 – 7 points) Correctly identified two stakeholders and the impact the ethical lapses had on them, or correctly identified three stakeholders but did not correctly identify all of the impacts (6 – 7 points) Essay had one or two spelling or grammatical errors that did not significantly detract from the content (4 – 5 points) The essay conformed to the one-page limit, and questions were answered in the context of the essay. (3 points) The essay was correctly submitted to both required links. (2 points) Exceeds Expectations Correctly identified all of the ethical lapses in the case (8 points) Identified which lapse was worst and provided a logical and convincing discussion supporting the choice (8 points) Correctly identified three stakeholders and the impact the ethical lapses had on them (8 points) No grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors (6 points) ...
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School: University of Maryland




Business ethics


Business Ethics

An ethical lapse is a situation whereby an individual decides to deny something that
eventually affects the individual and others or who are close to him. Ryan Braun ethical lapse
was that of denial; he uses it as a defense mechanism by blaming the motive that was used to
test drugs in his body. Even after the test results are out he sees the test as not following
protocol, his denial affects his team progress, but in the press, Braun states all that as false
claims. After the first incident in 2011 he was again caught in a...

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