The 2011 National League MVP Award just took an interesting twist. Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, who beat out Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the award last month, has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug per Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn of ESPN, and faces a 50-game suspension.â†µ
A urine sample from Braun supplied during the playoffs in October tested positive for elevated levels of a synthetic testosterone, according to the report. In addition, Braun knew of the positive test about a month before he was named National League MVP. Braun is appealing the ruling.â†µ
"There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program," a spokesman for Braun said in a statement. "While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated."â†µ
This is unprecedented for the Baseball Writers Association of America, who have never had to deal with a reigning award winner violating any rule involving PED. Stripping Braun of the MVP award would be a first, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Let's see how the appeals process plays out first. But for Kemp and Dodgers fans, this could get interesting.