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Ryan Braun's failed drug test not 'intentional,' spokesman says

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 1:53 PM EST, Sun December 11, 2011
Ryan Braun rounds the bases on his two-run homer in the first game of the National League Championship Series in October.
Ryan Braun rounds the bases on his two-run homer in the first game of the National League Championship Series in October.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • ESPN reports Ryan Braun's urine tested positive for a performance enhancing drug
  • Milwaukee Brewers owner warns against "a rush to judgment"
  • The alleged violation will be considered in arbitration
  • Braun was chosen the NL MVP after leading his team to the division championship

(CNN) -- Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun will "ultimately be exonerated" of suspicion that he used banned performance enhancing drugs during this past season, the left fielder's spokesman said Sunday.

Braun, the National League's 2011 "Most Valuable Player," faces a possible 50-game suspension after a urine sample tested positive for a high level of testosterone caused by a synthetic substance, according to an ESPN report.

Braun's spokesman denied any "intentional violation" of Major League Baseball rules in a statement given to CNN Sunday.

The 28-year-old left fielder was voted his league's MVP after batting .332, hitting 33 home runs, producing 111 RBI and stealing 33 bases during the 2011 season. Braun led Milwaukee to the team's first division title in three decades.

Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, in a statement to CNN Sunday, said there is "an incomplete set of facts" and warned against "a rush to judgment."

"Ryan deserves the right to be heard," Attanasio said. "We are committed to supporting Ryan to get to the truth of what happened in this unfortunate situation."

SI: What we know and what we don't know

"We are dealing with an incomplete set of facts and speculation," Attanasio said. "Before there is a rush to judgment, Ryan deserves the right to be heard."

Major League Baseball, which has a policy of not releasing drug test results before they are appealed through arbitration, has not commented on the report.

ESPN cited sources familiar with the case saying a urine test submitted by Braun during the playoffs in October returned a positive result for a high level of testosterone. A second test on the sample indicated it was caused by a synthetic substance, ESPN reported.

"There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program," Braun spokesman Matthew Hiltzik said in Sunday's statement. "While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated."

Braun sent a text message to MLB.com reporter Adam McCalvy saying he's "not really allowed to say anything right now," according to the website. "My day will come soon, though," the message read.

The Brewers owner said the team has heard from the baseball commissioner or the drug testing officials about Braun's alleged violation.

"Accordingly we do not have access to any of the facts or knowledge of any of the circumstances that are being circulated in the media with regard to Ryan Braun," Attanasio said.

He did issue a lengthy statement defending Braun as "a model citizen in every sense of the word, both in the Milwaukee community and for the Brewers."

"MLB has put a confidential testing program into place, which I personally support, that has a specific review process that must be followed before determining whether a player is in violation," Attanasio said.

Braun, in his 5th major league season, was selected rookie of the year in 2007.

The revelation comes just days before baseball legend Barry Bonds faces sentencing on an obstruction of justice conviction related to the federal probe into illegal steroids use by pro athletes. Prosecutions are asking for 15 months in prison for the former slugger.

CNN's Kara Devlin contributed to this report.

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