This is a hot sports news story today, as I woke up to hear ESPN's “Mike and Mike” talking about Milwaukee Brewers slugger (and reigning National League MVP) Ryan Braun's 50-game suspension being overturned. Braun had been suspended for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, but that's now been overturned due to some procedural errors that occurred.
As they said on ESPN, from a legal standpoint, “not guilty” is not the same as “innocent.”
(Edit: Braun did give a CLEAN sample just after the Oct. 1 sample that somehow led to the positive test).
LeanBlog.org guest blogger Chad Walters has a post on his site that analyzes the process details and the “chain of custody” problems that were uncovered:
From Chad's post:
This was the first time a baseball player has ever successfully challenged a drug-related penalty in a grievance. He won his appeal not by arguing any evidence of tampering or the science of the test results, but because of a problem with the chain-of-custody and the collection procedure.
That's correct – Braun had his suspension lifted because a standard agreed-upon process was not properly followed.
When “standardized work” isn't followed, it's a good practice to ask “why?”
- Was their poor training, where the person didn't know what the standardized work was?
- Did that poor training not make it clear WHY certain things had be done a certain way, leaving the person to think there was leeway in how the specimen was stored or transported (or when)?
- Did MLB do a poor job of selecting people to do the job?
I can't “go to the gemba” to see what happened or talk to the people first hand, but those are some of the questions I'd look into.
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