Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers has allegedly used a banned substance. It’s not steroids, not performance enhancing drugs, it’s just being reported as a banned substance. Other reports say it’s high levels of testosterone that are a result of something he took. Long story short, it’s tricky.

Major League Baseball is finally in a position to be stern.


But will they do such a thing?


Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers has allegedly used a banned substance. It’s not steroids, not performance enhancing drugs, it’s just being reported as a banned substance. Other reports say it’s high levels of testosterone that are a result of something he took.


Long story short, it’s tricky.


There’s nothing wrong with having high levels of testosterone, but what is an issue is what causes those testosterone levels to go up. That’s where all the question marks come in. Will this cause Braun, who just happens to be the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, to be suspended 50 games at the start of the 2012 season? What does this mean for his award? Is it cheating to raise one’s testosterone levels?


Braun is appealing the positive test results, and that could take awhile, but in the meantime, the answers are simple. In my opinion, they’re not even debatable.


If it’s fully determined — after all of the research, the appeals and everything else — that Braun took a substance banned by Major League Baseball, then he needs to be suspended for 50 games. It’s as simple as that. If you break the rules, you pay the price.


And this is where the gumption of Major League Baseball will come into play.


Braun is someone who should be stripped of his MVP award — if he indeed cheated. This isn’t like 1998 when Mark McGwire broke the single-season home run record and drugs were visible in his locker. That was a time when it wasn’t considered honest, but not illegal by the game. This isn’t like Barry Bonds being under heavy suspicions for his records while allegedly using steroids. This is right in the faces of MLB officials and they have to make a decision with the 2011 NL MVP.


It’s going to be a drawn-out process. Right now it’s a they said, he said situation. But when all is said and done and Braun gets that 50-game suspension, he needs to be stripped of his MVP honor. It should be handed over to Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers who came in second place.


Allowing Braun to remain the NL MVP after being found positive of using an illegal substance teaches future generations of ballplayers that you can still cheat and come out on top. And it’s wrong.


Success in baseball should be achieved through hard work, deep passion for the game and natural skill; not by pills, injections and synthetic luck.


But hey, Braun is a popular guy in Milwaukee. And if Prince Fielder doesn’t return, he’ll be the face of the franchise, which means profit for the Brewers and Major League Baseball. So just like Manny Ramirez, he’ll get a slap on the wrist while everything else is swept under the rug.