The League

Mackie Shilstone
Sports Performance Manager, MA, MBA

Mackie Shilstone

Executive Director, The Fitness Principle with Mackie Shilstone at East Jefferson General Hospital

The StarCaps Problem


Having worked with three former NFL players, who were suspended for substance abuse violations, I have somewhat of an understanding of the time away from the game and the emotional and physical implications of the suspensions for the players.

I worked on each respective player's performance, conditioning and nutrition program concurrently with their substance abuse rehabilitation program. I have done the same job for similar players in baseball and basketball.

From what I can see, the NFL has a tiered suspension model, based on the number of substance abuse violations. To prevent a player from consideration to the NFL Hall of Fame based on one violation would be a mistake in my mind, especially when the testing criterion for said suspension is still evolving. By that, I am referring to the lack of a recognized test for human growth hormone usage and the appropriate range for acceptable levels.

In addition, with the use of certain nutritional supplements that might be tainted with a prescription medication, such as the recent StarCaps issue, there's a cloud over intended versus unintended use. To hold players accountable to standards that are not clear and require various levels of judicial interpretation seems unfair. Why should testing errors effect a player's reputation for the rest of his life?

On the other hand, if a player was suspended for a year for a substance abuse violation, then such a suspension might need to be consideration in a HOF determination, especially if it was a choice between two players-- one of whom did receive such a suspension during his career.

In short, until the testing, interpretation, and said guidelines are presented in a crystal clear manner to all parties involved, I might err or the side of caution, as to who is in and who is out in Canton.

By Mackie Shilstone  |  July 31, 2009; 7:24 AM ET  | Category:  NFL , Roger Goodell , Steroids Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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