The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Disorganized deterrent

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It's not just that the punishment doesn't fit the crime; it's that the process empowers the player who has run afoul of the policy. How is it that Brian Cushing can undergo a positive test in September of 2009, and play the entire 2090 season while the appeal process is in motion? I understand the concept of "innocent until proven guilty", and I certainly don't want players sidelined for bad or inaccurate tests, or positive tests for substances they did not know ran counter to league policy. But there has to be a more efficient way to do this -- when a rookie who's been the target of PED speculation for years blows a test, it's ridiculous to think that he should be able to play a full season and win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

The Santana Moss case, in which the Redskins wide receiver got treatment from noted Canadian physician Dr. Anthony Galea, is a bit more complicated. At this point, it's just guilt by association. Moss saw a doctor whose assistant has been arrested with illegal PEDs in her possession, but has he ever tested positive for anything? And then, there's the StarCaps case of Vikings defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams, in which the NFL was recently chastised for putting the cart before the horse, suspending the players for ingesting substances they may not have known were illegal, and for violating labor laws in the way the league informed the players.

At this point, the NFL's drug policy appears haphazard and willful; there doesn't seem to be a universal way of dealing with things that effectively deters the use of performance-enhancing substances, and that goes back to the perception of the general public: that in the end, the league doesn't really care about its players taking stuff that enhances their on-field performance, and only acts against PED use when it absolutely must. If that's not the case, and the NFL wants us to know that it's not the case, a more organized and proactive series of policies must be enacted and enforced.

By Doug Farrar  |  May 28, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  NFL , NFL Rules , Roger Goodell , Steroids Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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