Who knew that Beast Mode came with a heaping side of synthetic testosterone?
Well holy poop, did anyone see this coming? While there have been plenty of positive tests in the past and even some with star players, there has never been a positive test of an MVP-caliber player that occurred DURING his MVP season. Today Ken Rosenthal has reported that Braun’s positive test might have been for a prohibited substance and NOT as PED. It’s clear that there are still details that remain unknown for the time being.
So, obviously judgement on Braun should be withheld until all of the facts of the case come out. While judgement should wait, it’s going to be difficult for him to avoid the quick judgments in the media considering terms like “highest testosterone levels ever recorded”, and “synthetic testosterone” are being used in connection with the results.
Braun’s people have made claims towards his complete innocence and have said that in the end “Ryan will be completely exonerated”. The word unknowingly has been used as well, which has been a go-to move for countless players in the wake of testing positive for PEDs and at this point is cliche to the point that it seems less believable no matter the truth in the claim.
The one question we might not have an answer to for a while is, what happens with the NL MVP? There has never been a re-vote for an award but the BBWAA may need to do so in this case, depending on how this mess finally concludes. With how close the vote between Braun and Matt Kemp was, it is fair to guess that at least some of the writers would change their votes if given the chance to vote with the new knowledge of Braun’s positive test from October.
There is some precedent for issues like this if we look across sports. The NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2009 went to Houston Texan, Brian Cushing, who then tested positive for a PED. The AP, who is in charge of voting for NFL awards, decided to take a re-vote for the award. Cushing, who was the run away winner before the positive test with 39 of 50 first place votes, still came away with the award but saw his first place votes drop to 18. Considering how close the NL MVP vote was between Braun and Kemp, it’s possible to see an outcome that has voters switching their opinion in favor of Kemp.
There have been some writers, Keith Law for one, who have already taken a stand and said that there shouldn’t be a re-vote even if it turns out to be the worst possible news for Braun. They’ve cited that there has never been specific proof regarding the exact effects of steroids on baseball players. The fact remains that while some banned substances can be purchased at GNC or a drug store, they are illegal according to baseball. Even if Braun only tested positive for a banned substance and not a PED, a re-vote should at least be considered given that Kemp, Fielder, and others in the running for the MVP did not break the rule Braun has now been accused of breaking.
Bonds was never suspended for PED use, but has been ostracized by many members of the BBWAA and may never see the Hall of Fame.
The reason judgment needs to be saved is that this could actually be a false positive; if that is the case then rushing to convict Braun could ruin his budding legacy. Concern for the truth needs to be paramount in situations like this considering what has happened to other players that have been accused of PED use like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and others.
So ideally judgment on Braun shouldn’t happen until all the details become known. After the claims of innocence, should the details come back and the news is not good for Braun, he should be prepared for a serious fallout in regard to his reputation.