Matt Kemp Is Not Happy About Losing 2011 MVP Race To A Cheater

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In the wake of Ryan Braun accepting his suspension from the MLB for the use of PED‘s, the question is begged: What is the appropriate punishment, outside of fines and suspensions, for a player who is caught?

Matt Kemp, who finished second to Braun in the 2011 MVP voting, thinks that Braun’s MVP should be stripped.

Braun agreed Monday to a 65-game suspension for unspecified violations of baseball’s drug rules and labor contract.

Asked Tuesday whether the award should be taken away from Braun, Kemp responded: “I mean, yeah, I do,” pausing and adding, “I feel like it should be, but that’s not for me to decide, you know?”

Kemp said people feel “betrayed” by Braun.

“I’m disappointed,” Kemp said. “I talked to Braun before any of this happened, we had conversations and I considered him a friend. I don’t think anybody likes to be lied to and I feel like a lot of people have felt betrayed. That’s not just me, that’s the whole Brewers organization, a lot of his teammates. I think a lot of people feel that way.”

It’s hard to argue with Kemp’s logic. After all, Ryan Braun cheated, got caught, and lied (a lot) about cheating. Anyone would feel a lot more than “betrayed” if they lost an award to someone like that. But that’s the catch, we don’t know how widespread PED use still is.  What if the award was stripped from Braun, given to Kemp, and then it came out that Kemp was also using?

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It’s really hard to set down a hard and fast rule on this because each case seems to be different and you never know who’s lying and who’s not. At the same time, you have to make the punishment discourage the crime. Bob Costas thinks that doling out punishments beyond fines and suspensions would work:

He suggested Major League Baseball change its punishment of PED users to a more severe two-step process:

  • A first-time offense results in a 50-game suspension and a lifelong ban from ever being eligible for awards or All-Star Game appearances.
  • A second-time offense results in a lifelong ban and a permanent bar from Hall of Fame candidacy.

That idea definitely has merit. However, that process would target the people with MVP level potential and Hall Of Fame aspirations. The lower level guys struggling to keep a job or to come back from injury aren’t going to care about awards or the HOF. They would only want to get a shot at starting and level the playing field with the more naturally talented players.

With all the lying and money involved it will probably always be impossible for us to know who is using and who isn’t, so each incident will probably be handled individually. We will see how much of a precedent the Ryan Braun case has established when the MLB gets around to punishing Alex Rodriguez.

All we know for sure is that it’s proving to be really dumb to bet against an MLB player being juiced.

 

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