When Ryan Braun defiantly addressed the media, he had several teammates in attendance for support. It seemed like unqualified support was the default position not only of his teammates, but of his union and all its members.
Not so, reports Buster Olney. In a piece for ESPN (Insider), Olney details the players who went off the record to tell him the decision stunk. And according to Olney, there are a lot more than you might have found a few years ago:
... a decade ago you might have found three or four players among those 40 who criticized a fellow player. Rather, the vast majority would've recited the strong words from their union meetings about their privacy rights, about the pitfalls of testing, about how any suggestion of drug testing by the owners was really designed to undermine their livelihood.
But if this recent straw poll of players is a proper reflection of the union as a whole, there has been a dramatic shift of thought among the brethren. I'm guessing 80 to 90 percent of the players I spoke with expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome of last week's case, in varying degrees.
The big sticking point, apparently, has to do with how Braun got off -- by challenging the process rather than the results. Even though the procedures and processes are in place to ensure an equitable and consistent testing system, no one likes to think about a possibly guilty person escaping punishment because of a technicality, even if it's debatable whether that's a description that's fair to Braun.