Saturday, January 21, 2012

Olney: Braun Should Give Back MVP Award

Ran Braun speaks to the Baseball Writers' Association tonight, accepting his NL MVP Award. and ESPN's Buster Olney thinks Braun should proclaim his innocence, but give it back (link insider only):

From the moment the news of Ryan Braun's positive test for performance-enhancing drugs broke in December, he has maintained his innocence, texting to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the PED charge was "B.S.," and he and his representatives followed through with an appeal that was heard on Thursday in New York. He's the only person who can know, with certainty, how this happened, and he insists he did nothing wrong.

But by now Braun understands that no matter how his appeal is decided, the perception of him has been shaped. Under the terms of baseball's drug prevention program, the positive test from October means, quite literally, that he is guilty until proven innocent, and this is true for many in the court of public opinion, as well.

This is a reality that Roger Clemens didn't seem to comprehend the instant his name was published in the Mitchell Report: He had already lost what he was trying to protect.

The best chance for Braun to extricate something good from his situation would be to stand up on the dais Saturday, hold the NL MVP trophy in his hands -- and offer to give it back to the Baseball Writers' Association of America at its annual New York dinner, even while maintaining his innocence. This gesture would elevate Braun and separate him from the legions of athletes who have issued denials in the face of accusations of performance-enhancing drug use.

Braun could say something along these lines when he speaks Saturday night :

I want to thank the Baseball Writers' Association for this award. But you all know, I failed a drug test in October, right in the middle of the playoffs.

I don't believe I did anything wrong. I didn't take any drugs meant to enhance my performance. My case is under appeal, which was heard here in New York this week, and I remain hopeful that the decision will go my way and that I can be ready to help the Brewers at the start of the 2012 season.

But I also understand the importance and the stature of the Most Valuable Player Award, which has been won by the likes of Ted Williams and Hank Aaron and Sandy Koufax and Cal Ripken. I do not want my situation to cast any negative light on the award, and if the Baseball Writers believe it's in the best interest of baseball that somebody else would be the NL MVP for 2011, I am here to offer back this award, for the sake of the sport we all love. Thank you. It would be the right thing to do. For baseball and for Braun, who would be lauded for the gracious offer.

Hmm. I wonder where Matt Kemp is eating dinner tonight?

8 comments:

Dusty Baker's Toothpick said...

Damn, dude, if Braun gave that speech tonight he would win back many of the fans that turned on him (like me). I like Braun, and I wish be does the right thing. It's all on him to man up.

Steve Sax said...

I'm not a Bruan hater. And I do think Kemp deserved to win the award and of course I love Kemp. But I don't think Ryan shud give the award back tonight. He won the vote, and so it is.

Steve Sax said...

It does bum me out though that Braun is tainted as well. The list is long.

Steve Sax said...

Well, so much for Olney. Braun accepts award, moons BBWAA on way off stage

Spank said...

NEWT!

Dusty Baker said...

I understand there is a process, but MLB should have done more due diligence to either confirm its initial allegations against Braun or exonerate him before the BBWAA dinner. It's unfair to leave him hanging. If he were guilty, I would hope he'd man up, as DBT intoned, and not accept the award. If he were cleared, then I would still be bitter that Kemp didn't get it, but I'd accept the will of the BBWAA.

Instead, we're all left still wondering and debating and all that was accomplished is more fodder for drive-time sports talk show hosts.

DodgersKings323 said...

I'll go one further, not only did Kemp deserve it and Braun should keep the award, i don't give a crap if he did take PEDs!

Mr. LA Sports Czar said...

Meh.