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Collector v. Braun not winnable case

What should Dino Laurenzi Jr., be doing now that Ryan Braun has all but admitted his use of performance-enhancing drugs? Remember Dino? He's the guy who collected Braun's urine sample that would later test positive for synthetic testosterone, after it had been held it at Laurenzi's home for a weekend before he sent it to the lab.

Should he be demanding an apology from Braun? Should he file a lawsuit?

The answers to the questions are "no" and "no," and here's why.

Braun and his attorney at the time, David Cornwell, used Laurenzi's errors to persuade two of three arbitrators that Braun should not be suspended even though he had tested positive. Unable to attack the positive finding, Braun and Cornwell attacked the process of collection, and they did it well.

There was little doubt that Laurenzi had not followed the procedure that was designed and written to ensure the integrity of the samples. It was an attack on the process of collection and not on the collector.

In Braun's statement after the results of the arbitration became public, he drifted beyond an attack on the process toward an attack on the collector. He said, "There were a lot of things we learned about the collector, about the collection process, about the way the entire thing worked, that made us very suspicious about what could actually have happened."

Before anyone demands an apology or files any lawsuit, let's parse Braun's statement. Look at the statement the way a guy such as Bill Clinton would look at it. Clinton famously tried to parse one of his own statements about Monica Lewinsky by asserting, "It depends on what the mean of 'is' is."

Although Braun did mention "things we learned about the collector," he quickly and in the same sentence added "about the collection process." Braun, using a Clintonesque parsing technique, would say that the phrase "about the collection process" was a correction to the phrase "about the collector."

Then there is Braun's use of the word "suspicious." It might have suggested that something sinister occurred in the collection process, something that tainted the sample. But Braun would explain that his only suspicion was that the collection process was not followed.

Studying Braun's statement, it is easy to see how so many people concluded that Braun had attacked Laurenzi personally and questioned his integrity. But the statement is so well constructed that it threw suspicion on Laurenzi but at the same time provided Braun with a ready means of escape if Laurenzi ever wanted to do something about it. Like the attack in the arbitration hearing, it was a fine piece of work by attorney Cornwell.

It would be a lot of fun to demand an apology from Braun. There might be some satisfaction in filing a lawsuit. Everyone enjoys piling on a cheater like Braun. But, in the end, it would accomplish nothing.