McNamee Hosea News & Press


Employment Dispute Results In Player's Suspension

Major League Baseball fans may have heard the recent media coverage regarding Ryan Braun. The left fielder and third baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers won the National League’s MVP award in 2011, and he was a potential ballot pick for the Baseball Hall of Fame. However, that rising stardom has been jeopardized by the player’s implication in a performance-enhancing drug, or PED scandal.

Specifically, Braun has been suspended from 65 games after admitting to using the PED drug Biogenesis. Notably, Braun had initially denied the use of any PEDs. In 2011, he attacked the results of a urine test that detected the presence of a PED, suggesting the test and/or its lab technician were biased or incompetent. In that 2011 matter, the urine sample collector had delayed sending the sample to the testing lab for two days, which provided a procedural defense for Braun.

Although lessons might be learned from Braun’s approach to this scandal -- and, in particular, his ownership of the 2011 denials -- the story also provides insight into the arena of employment contracts. Braun has a five-year contract, with a reported $105 million extension. However, his use of a PED may violate not only League rules, but also the terms of his contract.

Fortunately, Braun’s presumed breach of a material term of his employment contract has not resulted in his termination. Instead, he has accepted a suspension from playing, at a reported cost of $3 million in lost income. However, both the players’ union and the league signed off on this arrangement. This middle-ground approach might inspire employment lawyers to also negotiate for resolutions to employment disputes that are a win-win for both the employer and employee.

Source:, “Ryan Braun deserves to pay for his actions, but talk of voiding contracts is irresponsible,” Jeff Passan