If you are one of those people that spend all day on espn.com or turn on SportsCenter for even 20 minutes, you know the recent conflict with Ryan Braun. For those of us who are not familiar on the situation, Ryan Braun is an outfielder for the MLB team, the Milwaukee Brewers. Since 2007, he has made his name for himself in the league as one of the better all around players. In the 2011 season, he hit 33 home runs and 111 RBIs, an accomplishment that is deserving of the Most Valuable Player Award in the National League. When at bat, analysts continuously mentioned his bat speed when hitting. A few days ago, some news broke out that could potentially hurt his career as a professional athlete and will undoubtably hurt his reputation. Braun tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Unless you have been living under a rock for the last half-decade, you know that about the issue of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs in baseball. Among the many stars exposed for being users include big names such as Roger Clemons, A-Rod and Manny Ramirez. Although they are still considered some of the biggest names in sports, there reputation is forever tainted because they did not earn their accomplishments. So the question comes into play: Was being brawn worth it for Braun?
It is also important to note that it is not completely proven that he took steroids, there is still evidence being done on the matter. For arguments sake, we will assume he was rightfully accused. For those who care more about money than power or respect, Braun might not have made the worst decision. If a player takes something to increase their performance, come contract time, those better stats will get them more money. In Braun’s case, he got a contract worth about $120,000,000. His 50 game suspension this season will still earn him far over $20,000,000. In an economy like this, how can you complain for earning that kind of money in 2/3’s of a full season?
On the other side of the spectrum is a matter of pride, dignity and respect. Ryan won one of the most prestigious individual awards baseball has to offer and this will not be taken away from him. However, many people will disregard or lessen the significance of such an accomplishment because he may have not done it fairly. Think about if you found out your high school valedictorian who had an exceptional G.P.A. and perfect standardized test scores cheated in every exam he ever took. There is no doubt that you will no longer give him as much credit as you once would have. Regardless, they still received admission to Harvard with a scholarship but it does not matter anymore. Where you would have once boasted about how smart your valedictorian is, now they are almost totally discredited.
Through the eyes of a political theorist/philosopher, we can apply the arguments of John Stuart Mill and other Utilitarian thinkers. When thinking about this, the idea of whether the ends justify the means comes into play. In terms of Braun and other athletes accused of using performance enhancing drugs, are the incredible amounts of money and rewards worth the losing of respect from fans, disabling your team from using you for 1/3 of a season and degrading the league as a whole? The Brewers did significantly better because of Braun’s contributions but now they will go into next season without their best player. I think it was not worth it because Braun benefited the most from the drugs but he also got hurt the most. The final thing to speculate on is: if he did not get caught taking the drugs, would taking them be worth it if it brings your team victories, yourself fame and wealth and sport as a whole more recognition? What would Mill say?
You can find information on the issue here : http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/7338271/ryan-braun-milwaukee-brewers-tests-positive-performance-enhancing-drug