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Posted on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

Ryan Braun's successful appeal: MLB advises players to stick to supplements certified by Ann Arbor area firm

By Nathan Bomey

Major League Baseball advises players to stick to supplements certified by an Ann Arbor area not-for-profit to avoid running afoul of the league's drug policy.

That policy was thrust into the spotlight after Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and 2011 National League Most Valuable Player award winner Ryan Braun successfully appealed a 50-game suspension for a positive drug test.


Milwaukee Brewers player Ryan Braun speaks to the media.

AP photo


NSF International has more than 400 employees at its headquarters on Dixboro Road.

File photo |

Braun, who reportedly became the first player to get a positive drug test overturned on Thursday, apparently benefited when an official who collected Braun's urine sample "took it home, put it in a refrigerator and sent it out the next day," breaking strict protocol, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Thursday.

MLB contracts with Ann Arbor Township-based NSF International to develop a list of supplements that won't set off alarms at drug testing laboratories.

"These are the only substances that are approved and cannot result in a positive drug test," the Journal Sentinel reported in December. "Each spring, players are reminded to make sure anything they consume is NSF approved."

But Braun told USA Today that he never violated league rules.

"I did not do this,'' Braun said. "If I had done this intentionally, or unintentionally,'' Braun said, "I'd be the first one to stand up and say I did it. …I truly believe in my heart, and I would bet my life, that this substance never entered my body at any point.''

MLB, however, is "still convinced that the sample tested came from Braun, and that the positive test result was correct," ESPN reported.

NSF, which has more than $140 million in annual revenue and more than 400 employees at its headquarters on Dixboro Road, declined to comment on Braun's successful appeal.

"We don’t have any knowledge of the case or the circumstances so it would be inappropriate for us to comment," NSF spokeswoman Greta Houlahan told in an email.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 4:20 p.m.

@lumberg48108: &quot;...Braun's suspension was overturned on a technicality...&quot; Agreed. &quot;NSF played ZERO ROLE in this story..&quot; DISAGREE. Early reports claim it was a SUPPLEMENT in medication for a &quot;private medical issue&quot;. Some supplements cause failed drug tests. Some supplements do not. Who determines that? Until this article I had no idea that &quot;who&quot; was NSF. A NY Times article quotes representatives from the World Anti-Doping Association, located in Montreal. What does the WADA have to do with this subject? FoxSports quoted Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers!!?? For what? What does he have to do with Braun? CNN quoted ESPN who quoted &quot;sources&quot;, people that are not willing to attach their name to an article. story has brought more relevance to the discussion of supplements than the three international organizations that I have named. One more thought...the NSF is not-for-profit. I thought it obvious by the discreet comments from their spokeswoman that NSF was not looking for any publicity nor did they seek to benefit from any &quot;homerism&quot;. <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;_r=1&amp;sq=braun&amp;st=cse&amp;scp=1</a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 7:02 p.m.

Are you (seriously) claiming non-profit ventures do not have commercials? Regardless, in this context, a third party was giving a free quasi commercial for another entity; did this pass you by? Go post irrelevant links somewhere else please. Keep making your (false) claims that this story was about supplements when it was not. I am done with this thread lest anyone still reading it gets bored with my comments making you look foolish.


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

&quot;...My comments were about the author and media outlet...&quot; Your original comments actually used the words &quot;...a commercial...&quot; to describe a not-for-profit. &quot;Braun tested positive for unusually high levels of testosterone - not a banned substance...&quot; I did not claim Braun took a banned substance, though Braun's original defense was claiming his high levels of testosterone were caused by a substance in his medication. (Braun's claim, not mine)* Who certifies the substances? NSF does. If your bored go to MLB's homepage. MLB seems to think NSF is relevant enough to the testing protocol to give them prominent mention in presenting the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The CBA actually sets the rules of the drug testing protocol. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> BTW, since you are interested, read the testing protocol...the actual testing process starts about Page 29). <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> *<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

Braun tested positive for unusually high levels of testosterone - not a banned substance. If you are reading for a story about PEDs in sports from a business writer, I suggest you read elsewhere. I would defend Nathan to say my guess is that was not his goal - only to connect a local business to a national story. My other guess in an editor told him &quot;get NFS into this story somehow.&quot; As far as other agencies quoting players (like Rogers) I agree with you but I would guess they are looking or reactions from superstar players regarding a baseball MVP - but these are national news and sports outlets - not a local media outlet. Your statement &quot; story has brought more relevance to the discussion of supplements than the three international organizations that I have named&quot; might be true if only it were relevant - alas it is not since the story remains NOT about supplements but a violation of testing protocol from another entity. There is no discussion of supplements and you are looking for a link that is not there. We can agree to disagree but even you have to admit, bringing NSF into this story was a reach at best. My comments were about the author and media outlet; I made no mention of NSF or their spokesperson. My comment that NSF played no role in this story is accurate.

N. Todd

Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

Unfortunately, my give-a-crap meter is just about on zero when it comes to PEDs in baseball. MLB has done a horrendous job of handling the issue from the beginning. I haven't paid enough attention to this case to even care to make a personal decision as to whether or not Braun 'used'. However, if I were in his place and my urine sample went home with anyone, and later came back positive, I would fight the claim. I worked around urine samples for 5 years - never took any home. That doesn't seem reasonable to me, if it happened at all. Who does the official represent in &quot;an official who collected Braun's urine sample&quot;? MLB, Brewers, lab employee? That question seems quite relevant to the story and could certainly change the way I view it. If a team employee, it seems like that could be a fabricated defense that would possibly get the team penalized by the league, but, more importantly, allow you're star player to play. I'm sure someone knows who runs the 'collection' process.


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

@a2citizen Fact: Braun's suspension was overturned on a technicality, not based on an supplument use claim or validation, thus any mention of supplements is not news worthy inthe story. You may think its interesting a local company tests for drugs for baseball - so do I - in fact there have been stories in the past about he role of this company in testing - but that does not warrant a place in a national story. NSF played ZERO ROLE in this story ... &quot;MLB contracts with Ann Arbor Township-based NSF International to develop a list of supplements that won't set off alarms at drug testing laboratories.&quot; What value did this snipet add to the news value of the story? Zero, it was simply an attempt to localize a story that need not be localized. The fact that every story by ESPN or the AP does not mention &quot;supplements&quot; in the story is de factor proof it played no role in the story, therefore NSF plays no role in the story, other than an shout out. And in the headline????????? Please! Until someone offers a better response than &quot;I think its interesting NSF tests for drugs&quot; my criticicism is valid.

N. Todd

Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

My initial browsing of the article led me to believe that NSF was the agency involved producing &quot;The list&quot; and in the 'botched' testing. After reading your first comment, I went back through and realized what you were talking about. I am now assuming that NSF is not the company that tested Braun's sample? Although I'm probably not as upset as you are with them being listed, I'm inclined to agree with you.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

Not to turn this in to a sports story but lumberg48108 makes some important points....mainly that Braun &quot;won&quot; on a technicality. The guy is as &quot;not guilty&quot; as OJ was in my opinion. The only way he would be truly not guilty is if the guy who had possession of the sealed sample opened it, &quot;doctored&quot; it and resealed it. There is no hard evidence that occurred. There is also no science to support the idea that the results of the test could have been altered by 36 hours of sitting around.


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 4:41 a.m.

lumber: I think it is interesting that a local company is involved in such a high profile event. I also appreciate the discreet response by their spokeswoman. Not mentioning NSF simply because they are from the area is like writing an article about college football and refusing to talk about Michigan because they are from the area. There are enough people on this site that criticize for the sake of critizing. Please don't be one of them.


Fri, Feb 24, 2012 : 10:18 p.m.

Nathan Other than being a commercial, what is the point of this article? The suspension was overturned due to a violation of protocol - baseball thinks he is guilty of doping and so does everyone who follows things - this is not about a tainted supplement as he was found to have hiugh levels of testosterone in his system. To bring NSF into this story smacks of homerism and or trying to localize a story that need not be localized.


Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

So you dont think the company that has the EXCLUSIVE contract to approve substances for major league players has no relevance in a case about a possible banned substance used by a player? I guess if there is a shooting at say Virginia Tech, the local journalists should not go to the UM to ask what protocols are in place on campus to protect UM students? Give me a break. The NSF contract makes players give up the &quot;I took something, but didnt know&quot; defense. You dont see that as important to the story? Give me a break I suppose if there is a outbreak of food borne illness in Florida you would not call NSF either? If you didn't you would be a fool, since it is at the core of what they do, just as supplement testing is.

Stupid Hick

Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 12:11 a.m.

My initial reaction was, &quot;how cool!&quot; because I didn't realize that NSF was the sole authority that MLB relies on for certifying dietary supplements. I find the story interesting because I know a couple people who work at NSF and I like baseball. But I've expressed the same feeling as you, in reaction to other stories. I'm going to try to be less critical in the future. Not everyone is going to have the same interests as I do. Thanks for raising my self-awareness.