Ryan Braun Tests Positive for PEDs: Why He Must Forfeit 2011 NL MVP Award
Personally, I could not believe what I was reading upon seeing the report. I have always thought of Ryan Braun as one of the classiest guys in all of baseball, never someone who would sink so low as to use PEDs.
ESPN also quoted a spokesman of Braun's as saying "There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program."
While I think this is most likely a futile attempt to stall and try to come up with an excuse by Braun and his people, it could be true, so everything right now is speculation until this matter is actually confirmed by MLB. I hope for Braun's sake that this is just some mix-up and that his name is cleared, but if not, it will be a sad day for baseball, as one of its brightest young stars will have had his name defamed at the high point of his career.
That's right, this was the best season of his career, a season that the BBWAA deemed worthy of the NL MVP award. So now the question is, if all of these reports are true, should Braun be forced to surrender his MVP award? I personally think he should, so let's go a little more in-depth as to why an MVP-revoking would be a good idea.
MLB Needs to Set a Precedent
MLB is presented with a very unique opportunity in the case of Ryan Braun. He was literally just named MVP of the National League last month, and now it turns out that he tested positive for steroids during October? It's the perfect storm, and Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig needs to take advantage of it.
This is the chance to finally show the baseball world that there is no tolerance for cheating in this game. If Braun's test results are for real and he actually used PEDs to enhance his MVP-winning 2011 season, then it's time for the MLB to take a stand.
Make Braun forfeit his MVP trophy, and give it to the runner-up, the guy that actually deserved it
The Award Should Go to Its Rightful Owner
For the record, I thought Matt Kemp deserved to win the NL MVP in the first place. But now, he really deserves it.
The 2011 NL MVP should go to the guy that actually earned it, the guy that played the game the right way and played it better than anyone else in 2011. If Braun really took PEDs, then he is not that man, Matt Kemp is.
Kemp, the Dodgers' center fielder, hit .324 with 39 home runs and 126 RBI with 40 stolen bases and an OBP a mere point shy of .400. He also did it all by himself, with no "outside help." This type of season deserves to be recognized. Kemp should not miss out just because Braun decided it was okay to cheat his way to the top.
Kemp finished second in the NL MVP voting this year, with 322 points to Braun's 388.
Do the right thing, Bud. Give Matt Kemp the 2011 NL MVP award.
... HE DOESN'T DESERVE IT!
Plain and simply, if he didn't earn it, he shouldn't get to keep it.
Braun's 2011 season was a lie. He cheated his way to the top, with no regard as to how his decisions would affect his peers on other teams. After all, he was named MVP, so obviously the BBWAA writers thought that he was a key piece to his Brewer's NL Central run. The Brewers only won the division by six games, so it is very possible that Braun's "extra push" was the difference in a division race.
And if you're preparing to argue that it doesn't matter because the second-place Cardinals took the NL Wild Card and eventually won the entire World Series, and that the third-place team, the Reds, finished 17 games back, then think about this: The Atlanta Braves, who lost the Wild Card on the last day of the season by just one game, might have wound up making the playoffs, with the Cardinals taking the Central crown, had the Brewers been stuck with a normal, "un-juiced" Braun.
Braun may have single-handedly altered the course of baseball history with his actions, and he deserves to be punished. He'll have the 50-game ban to deal with, as well as the complete and total destruction of his reputation, but he should also have to forfeit his MVP award.