Do NFL players speak with forked tongues?
Unfortunately, that can be the result after a player tests positive for banned substances. They can say or claim anything they want, but because of the system’s confidentiality provisions, the league is forced to remain silent.
Wouldn’t it make more sense that once a player opens the proverbial Pandora’s box that the league could comment if the player isn’t being truthful?
Consider the case of New York Giants safety Tyler Sash, who has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the policy on performance enhancing drugs. Sash has acknowledged taking Adderall, which is a prescription drug used to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) or narcolepsy.
However, the drug has become popular on college campuses because it is an amphetamine that supposedly helps students focus.
NFL players with legitimate prescriptions can get advance clearance to take Adderall. What’s strange in Sash’s case is he claimed he was taking the drug “for an anxiety condition … the purpose was to help me with public speaking appearances.”
However, anxiety is not listed a listed condition for the drug, and one wonders if a sixth-round pick in 2011 would have people lined up at his door asking him to speak publicly.
Oh, one other thing: Sash said, “I had no idea that this prescription drug was banned by NFL policy.”
That’s strange because teammate Andre Brown was also suspended for taking the drug, but ended up having the suspension overturned on appeal
Then there is the case of Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis, who was suspended for the final four games of the 2011 season for violating the league policy on drugs of abuse and alcohol.
For performance enhancing drugs, one test results in a suspension. In the other, only on a third positive test is a player suspended.
So it was that Davis claimed this week that his suspension occurred when he tested positive for marijuana when he was tested three straight weeks.
In an interview on 106.7 The Fan in Washington, Davis said, “So, it’s one of those situations where you guys are all like, ‘Oh, you failed it again and again.’ No, it was three weeks in a row they test you, and anybody who smokes weed knows that weed isn’t going to be out of your system in a month. So, of course they’re gonna say it’s repeated.”
Well, don’t the labs know that about marijuana? And if, in fact, someone was tested that often, that if the level of the drug was lower each time, it would be clear the positive was from one incident?
It surely creates questions. But, those are questions the league won’t answer.
Former NFL coach Bill Parcells would often have fun with the media when they would start foaming at the mouth over the early exploits of young players.
Parcells would often say, “Let’s not put him in the Hall of Fame yet.”
Well, Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips obviously didn’t get Parcells’ memo.
Talking about second-year defensive end J.J. Watt, Phillips told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, “He’s going to be a bust — not a first-round bust but a bust in the Hall of Fame. The only players I’ve seen that can do what he can do with his intensity can be found in Canton.”
Waiting for the Cows to Come Home
Green Bay Packers tight end D.J. Williams had a rather unusual method for staying in shape in the offseason. While home in Arkansas, Williams said he would wrestle cows. (Please, no Bobby Petrino jokes.)
He said, “It started off as cow tipping, but once they start charging you, you have to go to defense mode. You just try to not get hurt or die and do whatever you can to stay alive. It’s very difficult to put them on the ground. If you can wrap the hind leg with the front leg, you have a good chance if you give a good enough push.”
Of course, Williams did admit there were some ulterior motives for that sort of wrestling. Noting the benefits of it, he said, “For a good time, it helps with football, obviously, and it’s a good way to impress a girl.”
Now, that would be my kind of girl.
Questioning the Commish
Numerous New Orleans Saints players have been critical of the way commissioner Roger Goodell handled the investigation of the team’s pay-for-performance program.
Assistant head coach Joe Vitt, who is the team’s interim coach except for the six games he will be suspended, has also repeatedly said Goodell went overboard in his claims against the Saints.
This past week, after reporting to training camp, Saints quarterback Drew Brees was succinct in his feelings about Goodell.
Brees told Peter King of si.com, “Nobody trusts him. I’m not talking about a DUI, or using a gun in a strip club, which are pretty clear violations. I think there’re too many times where the league has come to its decision in a case before calling a guy in, and the interview is just a façade. I think now if a guy has to come in to talk to Roger, he’ll be very hesitant because he’ll think the conclusion has already been reached.”
Transcript of the Day
One of the joys of covering the NFL is being able to read transcripts of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick repartee with the media.
Belichick says very little when it pertains to injuries or the status of players. Naturally, the media often keeps trying to ask questions in different ways, but it never works.
At the start of training camp, offensive lineman Brian Waters did not report (just as he didn’t for the teams’ mandatory minicamp), and there was no explanation why. A Boston Globe reporter spoke to Waters, but he wouldn’t talk and said in true Belichikian fashion, “I’m not really talking about it, you’ll have to talk to the Patriots about it. At this moment, I’m not really discussing the situation. Right now I’m just handling things between me and the team. If they want to talk to you, that’s fine but I’m not really talking about it. You’re just going to have to talk to the team. I’m allowing them to handle all the media stuff right now. We’re going to do it this way, because it’s the best way to do it.”
So it was that this exchange then occurred with Belichick:
Q: What’s the status of Brian Waters?
BB: He’s not here.
Q: Is that an excused or unexcused absence?
BB: It’s basically the same as it was in mini-camp.
Q: Do you expect him to be here before the regular season?
BB: We’ll just take it day to day. There’s no long-term plan, if that’s what you’re asking.
Q: Does that situation surprise you?
Q: Is retirement an option for him?
BB: You’ll have to talk to him.
Q: I did. He said to ask you.
BB: I couldn’t comment on anybody else’s career – playing, not playing or anything like that. That’s for them to talk about, not me. Nice of him to volley that back to me though.
And the beat goes on.