Just to vent a little here, off topic…. I think sports leagues are absolutely right to crack down HARD against steroid use. But the NFL, in doing so, has shown the common sense of a horse’s rear end and the fairness of a Soviet commissar. New Orleans Saints players are afraid to voice their opinions on the issue, so I’ll voice it for them: The NFL can go straight to Hades, and its enforcement people can $@&^&*$^@*^$(&..
So, you ask, why so angry? Because one of the classiest players in the entire league, EVER, has been suspended from the league, for NO GOOD REASON. Here’s the story of Deuce McAllister, a warrior’s warrior, a guy who plays hurt, who has returned from two knee surgeries and another serious leg surgery without complaint, who is an incredibly generous public citizen with his money and especially his time, and who did as much as anybody anywhere to rally to the aid and emotional support of New Orleanians after Katrina when almost nobody else, including the owner of the team, was willing to do so.
Why suspended? NOT for taking steroids. There doesn’t seem to be a soul alive, including at the NFL offices, who thinks Deuce took steroids. Instead, he took a diuretic — a weight-loss pill — that turned out to contain an ingredient that can be used to mask steroid use, and the ingredient itself is banned by the NFL for that reason. But there is ample evidence to support Deuce’s contention that he had no way of knowing that the pill contained that banned ingredient. Why? Because the pill packaging claimed that the product was “all natural,” and listed all its supposed ingredients on the package — and did NOT list the banned ingredient among them. In other words, the makers of the pill lied about what was in it. Now, here’s where it gets even more interesting. Deuce had taken the pills a few years before, and had sent them off to the league itself to make sure it was okay, AND had called the league’s hotline to double-check — and the league did NOT object to the pill.
So, the question is, if Deuce did all that due diligence, and then the pillmaker subsequently started including an ingredient that it didn’t acknowledge including (apparently the ingredient enhances the weight-loss results), how in the Lord’s good name was Deuce supposed to know it had become illegal?
Yes, the NFL rules say players are responsible for what they put in their bodies, no matter what caused it. But in this case the substance involved gave Deuce no competitive advantage, AND he didn’t know it was in there. And he was taking it in a diligent effort to rehab after surgery — and everybody knows that if you have a bad knee you want to have as little weight to carry around as possible so as not to put too much prssure on it as you are beginning to walk and then run again. There is NOTHING else, nothing at all, that Deuce could have done to be more careful about not breaking league rules. For the league to nevertheless impose a four-week suspension, without pay, is not just wrongheaded, it is morally obtuse, indeed it is sick.
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