If guilty, should Ryan Braun be allowed to keep the MVP award?
Ryan Braun is the reigning National League MVP. He also is facing a 50-game suspension he has received for violating the league's drug policy. The Baseball Writers Assn. of America has said it has no plans to strip Braun of his award. But if the positive test is upheld after Braun's appeal, should it?
Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses. And feel free to join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
Stephen Gross, Allentown Morning Call
There is no way that Ryan Braun should be allowed to keep his National League MVP award if found guilty of taking a banned substance. For one, it would set a bad precedent. Secondly, if baseball wants to distance itself from the ugly mark left on the sport from the Steroid Era, it can’t continue to allow users of performance-enhancing substances to be rewarded. Finally, while past award winners who have admitted to steroid use have retained their awards, the baseball community now has a golden opportunity to send a message.
For until the punishment is greater than the reward, players will continue to try to cheat the system. Maybe Bud Selig’s three strikes and you’re out stance is too permissive. Certainly, allowing a steroid user to keep or receive an MVP award is too lenient.
Obviously, if it is proven that Ryan Braun intentionally took illegal performance-enhancing drugs, the legitimacy of his MVP award will be thrown into serious doubt, but I think Major League Baseball and the Baseball Writers Assn. of America will just have to grin and bear it.
The historical can of worms that would be opened by re-assigning the award would damage the credibility of the process as much or more than just accepting the fact that naming Braun the National League MVP seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
Lest we forget, a guy named Barry Bonds has a whole room full of MVP trophies and Roger Clemens has a Cy Young Award to leave to every member of his family. It would be nice if we could sanitize history whenever it doesn't retroactively live up to our expectations, but that's just not practical.
Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times
If the Milwaukee Brewers slugger did indeed use performance-enhancing drugs -– two positive tests during the playoffs were revealed and confirmed this weekend -– he needs to admit it.
And if he admits it, he needs to give up the National League MVP award he should not have won in the first place.
He would need to give it up because the Baseball Writers Assn. of America has no policy by which it can strip it. He would need to give it up because, unlike past cheaters who have kept their awards, he would have been caught and admitted it in the same calendar year he won the prize.
The National League MVP should forever remain vacant for the 2011 season, serving as an eternal reminder of the cost of cheating while representing the only real punishment for an active cheater.
Photo: Ryan Braun. Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press