Monday, December 12, 2011

Braun should give back MVP trophy if guilty

I have to reiterate something I said in a post yesterday about Ryan Braun: he should be forced to give back his Most Valuable Player trophy if he loses his appeal over a positive test for a banned substance.

I’m willing to let the situation play out and give Braun the chance to prove his innocence. But if he fails to do so and is forced to sit out for 50 games, then he should also be forced to give back his MVP award. Unfortunately, it appears that the baseball writers who chose the MVP do not have a mechanism to revoke it when a player is found to have broken the rules.

But beyond that, there are some baseball experts who do not think Braun should have to return the award, even if the positive test stands. One argument I’ve heard many times today, and one that I find completely infuriating, is this notion that Braun should be allowed to keep the trophy regardless since we don’t know for sure that the other MVP candidates are clean players. It’s a ridiculous argument. First of all, it doesn’t matter what we know about the other guys, we know that Braun got caught and so he should be punished. Secondly, why should we find Matt Kemp, this year’s runner-up in the National League MVP, guilty by association? Until Kemp or any other player fails a test, they are entitled to the benefit of the doubt. I would have more respect for Braun if, after his appeal fails, he personally hands the award over to Kemp with an apology.

It’s not like there isn’t a precedent in sports for returning an individual trophy. Reggie Bush forfeited his Heisman Trophy award after it came to light that he received improper benefits while playing for the University of Southern California. I agree with that result and would argue that performance-enhancing drug abuse is just as devastating, if not more so, to the game of baseball and should be similarly punished.

Thanks to shgmom56 and UC international via Wikipedia for the Braun photo.

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