Not to excuse Manny Ramirez's own culpability, but Scott Boras really, really failed Manny on this whole steroids thing. An agent is supposed to protect his player and pay attention to the details so the player doesn't have to worry about anything. Boras, and/or his staff, dropped the ball big time.
Essentially, this whole thing comes down to botched paperwork. Had Manny applied for a "Therapeutic Use Exemption" the world would have gone on believing that he was only quirky, not dirty.
Players get waivers for banned drugs all the time (see Question 3). Had Ramirez's people filled out the proper paperwork, Manny could have taken HCG and no one would have said anything. And when his testosterone levels came up high in his spring training drug test, MLB would have given him a pass because it would have known he was taking a drug that increases testosterone levels.
Instead, the bad test set off a chain reaction in which Manny perhaps could have been suspended for longer than 50 games.
According to ESPN, MLB determined Ramirez's off-the-charts testosterone level came from an unnatural source. In preparing a defense, Boras dropped the ball again when it was revealed to MLB that Manny was also taking the banned substance HCG. See, Goose, Cooked.
It's like a guy who's pulled over for speeding, and when the cop asks for his license and registration he hands him a bag of weed.
Now, the story says MLBPA turned over Manny's health records per the CBA, but the MLBPA would had to have gotten them from Boras, who could have conveniently edited potentially damaging information for his client.
In any event, it all could have been avoided if Ramirez just filled out the waiver to begin with. Which makes you wonder just how many players have TUE's to cover up their steroids use.
It also makes the usual media reaction – from both the outraged and the deniers – look a little foolish. As long as there's a "Therapeutic Use Exemption," we know that performance enhancing substances are a part of baseball.