The man who collected 2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun's urine sample said that he followed the same protocol that he had followed hundreds of times before, according to an ESPN article.
In an email sent to ESPN's Buster Olney Dino Laurenzi Jr. said that he issued his statement to set the record straight after Braun's 50-game suspension after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs was overturned by an MLB arbitrator.
According to Laurenzi, he obtained a signature from the Milwaukee Brewers slugger indicating that the samples were capped and secured in his presence.
"This situation has caused great emotional distress for me and my family. I have worked hard my entire life, have performed my job duties with integrity and professionalism, and have done so with respect to this matter and all other collections in which I have participated," Laurenzi said.
Laurenzi's lawyer declined to comment concerning the matter.
Braun tested positive in October for elevated levels testosterone, and ESPN's "Outside The Lines" revealed the positive test in December.
Braun's exoneration is groundbreaking because it marks the first time an MLB player has successfully challenged a drug-related suspension.
Friday, Braun rather forcefully proclaimed his innocence stating that the collector had kept the urine samples in his home for 44 hours, because he believed that the FedEx office that he was supposed to use to ship the samples for testing was closed.
Braun claimed that the testing was "fatally flawed" because of the extended delay.
Further, he said "I don't honestly know what happened to it in that 44-hour period."
On Tuesday, Laurenzi said he followed protocols set by his employer, Comprehensive Drug Testing, by keeping the samples until they could be shipped. Laurenzi contends that the urine samples never left his custody and no one other than his wife was in his home while the samples were housed there.
"Given the lateness of the hour that I completed my collections, there was no FedEx office located within 50 miles of Miller Park that would ship packages that day or Sunday. Therefore, the earliest that the specimens could be shipped was Monday, October 3," Laurenzi said.
He further stated that "[i]n that circumstance, CDT has instructed collectors since I began in 2005 that they should safeguard the samples in their homes until FedEx is able to immediately ship the sample to the laboratory, rather than having the samples sit for one day or more at a local FedEx office."
"The protocol has been in place since 2005 when I started with CDT and there have been other occasions when I have had to store samples in my home for at least one day, all without incident."
Laurenzi has collected samples for his current employer since 2005, conducting more than 600 collections since his hiring.
"I sealed the bottles containing Mr. Braun's A and B samples with specially numbered, tamper-resistant seals, and Mr. Braun signed a form certifying, among other things, that the specimens were capped and sealed in his presence and that the specimen identification numbers on the top of the form matched those on the seals," Laurenzi said.
Though MLB officials refused comment, unnamed sources told ESPN's legal analyst Lester Munson that they are still convinced that the sample was Braun's and that the positive test result was correct. The sources emphasized that the FedEx package, received by a Montreal laboratory who tested the sample, was sealed 3 times with tamper-proof seals.
Here, Braun was lucky to be let off on a technicality. As a result, it is unlikely that the reversal of his suspension will change the public perception of him as a user of performance enhancing drugs. MVP or not he will have a lot of work to do to change that perception and he will be forever linked to steroids whether or not his MLB record says so.
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