Posted July 24, 2013

Matt Kemp thinks Ryan Braun should be stripped of 2011 MVP award

Matt Kemp, Most Valuable Player award, Ryan Braun
Matt Kemp, Dodgers

Matt Kemp led the NL in runs, home runs, RBIs and total bases in 2011 but was runner-up for MVP. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

The race for the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player award was an extremely close one. I was among the many who believed that Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp deserved the award, but 20 of the 32 first place votes, and thus the hardware, went to Ryan Braun instead, largely because Braun’s Brewers won their division while Kemp’s Dodgers finished third in theirs. In light of Braun’s suspension for performance-enhancing drug use, that result looks even worse now than it did then. So much so that Kemp was willing to speak out about it on Tuesday.

“Do I feel like it should be stripped?” Kemp said echoing reporters’ questions about Braun’s MVP award, “I mean, yeah, I do. I feel like it should be, but that’s not for me to decide, you know? That’s not for me to decide.”

Kemp didn’t go as far as to say that the award should be given to him as the runner-up, but he didn’t reject the notion either, adding, “I was in the race for MVP and got second. The voters had their opinion of who they wanted to pick as MVP. You have to respect who they picked. It is what it is. For me, all I can worry about is getting healthy. It definitely would be nice to have an MVP trophy, but I didn’t win the MVP. I was second.”

“As a player who never took PEDs or steroids, it’s upsetting that [PED users] take away from those guys who bust their butts in the gym and play the game clean. . . . You don’t like getting lied to. A lot of people feel the same way. I’m sure I’m but another on that list.”

The award won’t be taken away from Braun or reassigned. Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s secretary-treasurer Jack O’Connell stated as much in an email on Monday, before Kemp made his comments, asserting that “the decision was already made. [Braun] won it.”

That’s the right stance for the BBWAA to take. Adjusting baseball history to diminish the significance of PED users only compounds the lie and is a very slippery slope given how widespread drug use was in the game at its peak. Ken Caminiti didn’t lose his 1996 MVP award when he confessed to Tom Verducci in 2002 that he used steroids that season. The BBWAA didn’t take its hardware back from the handfuls of other major award winners since revealed to have been juicing. Nor should it have. That doesn’t mean that Kemp doesn’t have the right to feel cheated. He was, twice over, first by Braun and then by the voters, who should have given the award to Kemp anyway.

7 comments
diecapsule34
diecapsule34

I agree that Kemp should be given the award just as Mike Greenwell should have Canseco's MVP award, Pujols should have a couple of Bond's awards and Albert Belle should be given Mo Vaughns MVP trophy. Oh wait a minute, Mo Vaughn was never accused of taking roids. Thats right, Belle was just flat out out screwed in 1995 by the writers because they didn't like him. The entire MVP process has become a crock. Compare Belle's incredible 95' season to Vaughn's when Belle was the best player on the best team in baseball and one of the greatest offenses in the games history with stars such as Manny Ramirez, JimThome  & Eddie Murray to name a few and tell me the voting isn't biased. And dont say Belle was on the juice because Canseco mentioned that Belle was one player that he knew did not use PED's (corking bats is another thing :). PED'S or no PED'S, the writers who vote on these awards should be replaced by the players' or coaches' votes.

mjhellund
mjhellund

People that voted for Braun over kemp should be disenfranchised regarding MVP voting anyway.

The_Sports_Dude
The_Sports_Dude

The difference between Braun's tainted MVP and previous MVPs who have come to be known as PED users is that MLB finally officially put the PEDs rules in the books in 2006.  MLB cannot retroactively revoke MVPs for previous winners when they did not break  the rules at the time.

jcsmithmadc
jcsmithmadc

If the Olympics can take back Gold Medals from PED violators, why can't MLB do the same?

These baseball PED users cheat their way to success, big contracts, and fame, and the punishment does little to hurt them other than embarrassment. 

Take their awards, fine them harshly, and put them on permanent probation along with a public apology.

BobbyBangin
BobbyBangin

If this is the case then Bonds has 7 he needs to start dishing out. 3 of which would belong to Pujols.

Luis R
Luis R

He cheated baseball and he cheated Matt Kemp out of the MVP award and he lied about it. Matt Kemp had much better year in 2011, the only reason that Ryan Braun got it was because the Dodgers finished in third place. The is no room for cheating in baseball. Ryan should return the MVP Award to MLB, and it should be given to Matt Kemp! It the right thing to do now!

MichaelSullivan1
MichaelSullivan1

Why shouldn't Braun be stripped of his MVP award? How about this slippery slope: if he isn't, then it encourages athletes to dope because the benefits outweigh the consequences. Braun gets to keep his MVP award and is only out for 55 games. Was it worth it for him? Of cour$e, because MLB and, apparently, the BBWAA, don't really care about doping in baseball. Prove otherwise.