TORONTO — Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who finished runner-up to Ryan Braun in voting for the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player award, thinks the suspended Milwaukee Brewers slugger should be stripped of the honor.
Braun finished with 388 points and 20 first-place votes, to 332 and 10 for Kemp. Major League Baseball attempted to suspend Braun following a positive test that October for elevated testosterone, but the penalty was overturned by an arbitrator who ruled Braun’s urine sample was handled improperly.
Braun agreed Monday to a 65-game suspension for unspecified violations of baseball’s drug rules and labor contract.
Asked Tuesday whether the award should be taken away from Braun, Kemp responded: “I mean, yeah, I do,” pausing and adding, “I feel like it should be, but that’s not for me to decide, you know?”
Kemp said people feel “betrayed” by Braun.
“I’m disappointed,” Kemp said. “I talked to Braun before any of this happened, we had conversations and I considered him a friend. I don’t think anybody likes to be lied to and I feel like a lot of people have felt betrayed. That’s not just me, that’s the whole Brewers organization, a lot of his teammates. I think a lot of people feel that way.”
Jack O’Connell, secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, said the award vote was final.
“The decision was already made. He won it,” O’Connell said in an email Monday.
Kemp said he wasn’t as comfortable as teammate Skip Schumaker in being openly critical. Schumaker said Monday that Braun should receive a lifetime ban, adding that he planned to take down an autographed Braun jersey hanging in his house.
“Talking about things like this is very, very touchy,’ Kemp said. “It’s weird. Me, I don’t like to talk about this stuff but I feel like I have to a little bit.
“Skip did come out and say some things and he said how he felt,” Kemp added. “A lot of players don’t do that but you respect guys who come out and say what they feel because that’s what you respect, the truth.”
Kemp was out of the lineup for the second straight game Tuesday because of a sore left ankle. He returned from the disabled list Sunday after an 11-game absence caused by a sore left shoulder.