Ryan Braun will no longer miss 50 games for violating baseball's performance-enhancing drug policy.
The outfielder's suspension was overturned on appeal by arbitrator Shyam Das. It is the first time that a baseball player has won an appeal after being suspended for using PEDs.
Braun had one of his best seasons in 2011 and won the National League MVP Award. He batted .332, hit 33 home runs and drove in 111 runs for the division-leading Brewers.
As soon as word spread that the outfielder would be suspended in December, Braun was defiant about his innocence.
Now that the decision has been overturned, Braun feels vindicated.
I am very pleased and relieved by today's decision. It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.
Friend of Braun and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrated the decision on Twitter.
MLB and cable sports tried to sully the reputation of an innocent man. Picked the wrong guy to mess with. Truth will set u free #exonerated, tweeted Rodgers.
While Rodgers and Braun are proclaiming the MVP's innocence, not everyone is convinced that Braun is not a cheater.
In the eyes of many, Braun is still guilty.
Even though he won his appeal, Braun was not exactly found innocent. Reports say the arbitrator ruled in Braun's favor because his urine samples were mishandled.
Braun will not miss the first 50 games of the season because there was a problem in the chain of custody.
Braun did not argue that the test results were flawed, or even that his results were tampered with. His sample showed testosterone levels that were five times higher than normal.
He argued that the typical collection procedure was not followed correctly.
Reports say the person who collected Braun's sample did not immediately take it to the FedEx shipping office. Instead, the collector waited two days to ship it because the office was closed.
Major League Baseball says it disagrees with the decision and some are reporting that the league may sue in federal court to reverse the ruling.
If Braun is being exonerated on a technicality, that probably won't be enough to sway the general public's perception.
In the American legal system, the defendant is innocent until proven guilty. When it comes to the court of public opinion, the opposite is usually true.
Athletes who have been linked to steroids have been considered by many fans to be guilty of cheating, even if they have never failed a test. After being lied to for so many years about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, the public is very skeptical to believe players who have been accused of cheating.
Roger Clemens has never failed a steroid test. His main accuser is Brian McNamee, whose credibility is questionable at best. Nevertheless, multiple polls show that the majority of people are convinced that the pitcher used steroids during his career.
America has become numb to athletes who defiantly say they are being falsely accused. Ever since Rafael Palmeiro failed a drug test after pointing his finger at Congress, while saying he never used steroids, it's hard to find an athlete who can overcome steroid allegations.
If the arbitrator had decided that there was a false positive drug test, perhaps more people would believe that Braun did not take a performance-enhancer.
It will be hard for people to think of Braun as a clean athlete after his original suspension.
It's not impossible for Braun to eventually clear his name in the eyes of some. A lot of people will forget about the failed test if he continues to put up impressive numbers for the rest of his career.
The season after Alex Rodriguez admitted to using steroids, he put up impressive stats and came up with a number of clutch hits to help the Yankees win the World Series. Now, many people don't even bring up steroids when they talk about Rodriguez.
If Braun has a down year after winning the MVP last season, many will chalk it up to the fact that the outfielder is no longer on steroids.
Braun says he is innocent. The arbitrator has overturned his suspension. But, for the rest of his career, many fans will see the outfielder as just another cheater.