In law school they teach you the difference between “innocent” and “not guilty” pretty quickly. Dan Patrick didn’t go to law school, so forgive him for not having that down pat. Today — Via Tom Haurdricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel — he clarifies his comments from yesterday regarding Ryan Braun and “innocence”:
“I want to clarify something I said about Ryan Braun yesterday,” said Patrick. “What I should have said is he could be found not guilty.
“I said (Monday) that Ryan Braun could be, COULD BE, found innocent. The test could be thrown out. I’m getting bits and pieces of what’s going on behind the scenes. We’ve been waiting for information on this.
“If they throw out the test, now this is IF, he could be found not guilty, not innocent. Maybe it’s semantics but I want to correct myself with that. I think there’s a little bit more to the story here.
“Once again, he could be found not guilty, not necessarily innocent.”
Being “not guilty” could simply mean that there was no evidence that he intentionally took a performance-enhancer. He could still, however, have his positive drug test upheld in the same way J.C. Romero’s was, with a decision that it was inadvertent (i.e. a positive sample constituting a lack of innocence). Because MLB’s drug policy is strict liability, however, he would still be suspended because intention has nothing to do with it.
And you know what? It probably wouldn’t matter. Because I have this feeling that those who judge the PED guys negatively care way more about the stature of the person in question as opposed to the nature of his specific transgression. Look at how much more flak the famous guys in the Mitchell Report took compared to the random scrubs. It’s all about sensationalism, not circumstance.
Prediction: If Ryan Braun is “not guilty” of intentionally taking PEDs, but is still suspended due to inadvertent taking of a tainted supplement or something, he will still be treated by many in the media and the public at large like a cheater because he’s a superstar. It shouldn’t be that way, but I bet that’s how it goes.