The following is excerpted from the Online Free Dictionary regarding libel and slander:
"Two torts that involve the communication of false information about a person, a group, or an entity such as a corporation. Libel is any Defamation that can be seen, such as a writing, printing, effigy, movie, or statue. Slander is any defamation that is spoken and heard.
Collectively known as defamation, libel and slander are civil wrongs that harm a reputation; decrease respect, regard, or confidence; or induce disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against an individual or entity. The injury to one's good name or reputation is affected through written or spoken words or visual images. The laws governing these torts are identical.
To recover in a libel or slander suit, the plaintiff must show evidence of four elements: that the defendant conveyed a defamatory message; that the material was published, meaning that it was conveyed to someone other than the plaintiff; that the plaintiff could be identified as the person referred to in the defamatory material; and that the plaintiff suffered some injury to his or her reputation as a result of the communication.
To prove that the material was defamatory, the plaintiff must show that at least one other person who saw or heard it understood it as having defamatory meaning. It is necessary to show not that all who heard or read the statement understood it to be defamatory, but only that one person other than the plaintiff did so. Therefore, even if the defendant contends that the communication was a joke, if one person other than the plaintiff took it seriously, the communication is considered defamatory..."
The MLB collectors mishandled the samples, as Braun eloquently pointed out, with several FEDEX facilities open and the collectors supposedly being professional and responsible for knowing that the sample is supposed to be turned over to FEDEX immediately and assigned a number rather than a name. Instead they broke chain of custody (this would have the evidence thrown out in a court of law 100 per cent of the time) and, suspiciously, Braun's positive result was released to ESPN reporters. A Yahoo Sports reporter decided to make this statement:
The chain of custody protocol failure alone was enough for highly respected arbitrator Shyam Das to overturn the potential 50 game suspension. Go ahead and click on that link. Das is no rookie, his credentials are impeccable and impressive. Das has 30 days to deliver a written verdict to MLB and there are rumors that other factors were also involved in his decision. But chain of custody failure would be enough and MLB representatives should quit issuing "spin" statements and admit that the system worked by being able to identify mistakes in the process. For MLB to cry about the legal vindication of Ryan Braun now is equivalent to shooting yourself in the foot,