Ryan Braun: The Most Controversial Takes on Positive PED Test
To say that the last 18 hours have been difficult for 2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun would be a colossal understatement. Since it was reported by ESPN.com that he failed a drug test, a majority of fans and analysts have basically made him a pariah.
Fair or unfair, that is just how people feel about performance enhancing drugs. This has also spurred a rash of questions ranging from whether Braun should keep his MVP award to if the Brewers will be forced to re-sign Fielder.
While I don't agree with virtually anything negative that has been written about Braun, that does not mean it is not worth pointing out and criticizing it.
Here are the most controversial articles that have been written about Braun since Saturday night.
Let's Treat Ryan Braun Like Brian Cushing
Article: "Should BBWAA Rescind Ryan Braun's MVP Award?" by Jim Neveau of Yardbarker.com
Argument: Neveau says that the Baseball Writers Association of America should take away Braun's MVP and hold another vote, and if he wins again, so be it.
My Take: What is the point of that? I didn't understand it with Cushing when he was named NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year and I don't understand the logic of it with Braun.
You can't retroactively go back and fix something that you seem to think is a mistake. It was a mistake to give Braun the award in the first place, because Matt Kemp was the best and most valuable player in the league, but the idea of another vote just because of a positive PED test is incredibly stupid and shortsighted.
This argument is dumb and completely without merit. Plus, suppose the vote does change and Kemp were to win, how would he feel knowing that the only reason he won the award is because of Braun's positive PED test?
Ryan Braun Is a Bad, Bad Man
Argument: If Braun can't prove his innocence, it will damage the sterling reputation of all sports in Wisconsin forever.
My Take: What? How does anything that Braun did or didn't do have any effect on what happens with the Green Bay Packers or that big block of cheese sitting down the street that people are so fond of?
Suppose that Braun is suspended for 50 games, are the Brewers fans really going to boo him when he comes back?
Of course not. Giants fans always cheered Barry Bonds. Yankees fans always cheer Alex Rodriguez...well, so long as it isn't playoff time.
As far as reputations with the rest of the sports world, who cares? If your ego is so fragile that you have to be fed compliments by other fans and analysts across the country, you probably shouldn't be watching sports.
MLB Is Dirty
Article: "MLB Will Never Be Clean" by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports
Argument: No matter what happens with Braun, no matter what MLB tries to do, the sport will always be tainted by these villains who have the nerve to take performance enhancing drugs.
My Take: It is astounding that in this day of information overload and all the research out there that none of these analysts who are crying foul right now with Braun, or who have in the past with Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod, McGwire, Sosa, et al. is they don't even bother trying to look up the ways these drugs work.
There have been studies done by people that would know that prove there is no direct correlation between any kind of performance enhancing drug use and player performance.
So who cares if the sport is "dirty?" What does "dirty" even mean?
The sport was really dirty in the early 1900s when teams and players were fixing games to win money. Yet somehow fans want to overlook that -- as evidenced by the motion to get Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame -- and blame all the problems in the game on PEDs.
Give Up Your MVP Award, Mr. Braun!
Article: "Why Braun Must Forefit NL MVP Award" by Chris Sbalcio of Bleacher Report
Argument: Baseball needs to do something to stop this madness from happening, and Matt Kemp deserves the award, and Braun's season was nothing but a lie.
My Take: Was Braun's season that different from any other season he has had since being called up to the Brewers in 2007 when he was passing all of his drug tests? Let's examine shall we?
Braun hit 33 home runs in 2011, which was the third-highest total of his career. He hit 34 in 2007 and 37 in 2008.
His slugging percentage was the second-best of his career of .597. In his rookie season, he slugged .634. His isolated power (iSO) which is a more efficient measure of power than slugging percentage, was .265. That was the third-best in his career -- .310 in 2007, .268 in 2008.
Apparently, those PEDs that he took to give him a positive drug test don't work that well. He should try to get his money back.
Why Not Give Braun the Benefit of the Doubt
Argument: Justice believes in Braun because he is a nice guy and one of the faces of the sport. It also helps that Braun is adamant that he is innocent.
My Take: This kind of condescending article is what I hate most from sportswriters. Justice is basically telling everyone that he likes Braun, so he isn't going to judge him one way or another until the final result is out.
This is the same Richard Justice that said Barry Bonds, who never tested positive for steroids or performance enhancing drugs during his career, and any other person who is associated with these drugs should be wiped off the baseball record books.
You can't have it both ways. If you want to hate on players that have been surrounded by allegations of steroid and PED use, you have to do it with all of them, not just the ones that you don't like.
How About We Stop Freaking out over Mundane Things
In conclusion, I would like to ask that baseball fans and writers stop trying to act so self-righteous in trying to burn anyone and everyone who may have been in the same city as a steroid or PED in their life.
Where is the outrage from these same people when Miguel Cabrera or Tony La Russa or Coco Crisp gets pulled over for a DUI? To me, that is something that deserves to be scrutinized because they can kill themselves and others.
Braun has been a great player throughout his career. He will continue to be a great player for a long time to come. Don't try to break him down because of a steroid or performance enhancing drug test when there is no definitive proof that those actually do anything to help a player on the field.