On Friday, the NFL announced Indianapolis Colts star defender Robert Mathis, who was coming off of the best season of his career, has been suspended for the first four games of next season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
Mathis quickly responded saying that he went through the right process and his agent called the suspension “unjust and unfair,” but the NFL responded in a way that broke the norm.
Rather than letting the player and agent say their piece, the NFL released a lengthy statement to give their side of the story and it wasn’t too flattering for Mathis.
The statement read:
“As Mr. Mathis’s agent acknowledged today, his client failed to follow the protocols in the policy that the NFL and NFLPA agreed upon to address precisely these kinds of claims. That policy also prescribes the disciplinary consequences of a positive test. The policy does not provide — nor should it provide — for the Commissioner to override the policy’s procedures and assess discipline on an after-the-fact, ad hoc basis. Here Mr. Mathis actually withdrew his appeal and accepted discipline at the union’s suggestion. His hearing took place only after the Players Association requested that the appeal be reinstated.
“The drug for which Mr. Mathis tested positive is not approved by the FDA for fertility in males and is a performance-enhancing drug that has been prohibited for years. Importantly, Mr. Mathis did not consult with the policy’s Independent Administrator, a physician jointly approved by the NFL and NFL Players Association. Nor did he consult with his team doctor, the team’s training staff, the NFLPA, the league office or the hotline established under the policy to give confidential information to players. Each of these sources would have warned against using this substance.
“A cornerstone of the program is that a player is responsible for what is in his body. Consistent application of the policy’s procedures is critical to the integrity of the program.”
With such a high-profile player failing his test, it isn’t a surprise that the NFL took some extra steps to show why everything went down the way that it did.
Unfortunately for Mathis, he knew Chlomid was was a banned substance that the league has been banning for years so his punishment should not come as any surprise.