As we lead into the upcoming football season, seems the topic of NFL players and substance abuse penalties are repeatedly being discussed in sports news.
Since Commissioner Roger Goodell has stepped up in 2006, over 100 players have been suspended by the league for violating the substance abuse policy.
The NFL’s substance abuse policy consists of two separate policies that ultimately can lead to suspension or worse consequences. One policy is concerned with the use of banned drugs that are specific to improving athletic performance (referred to as PEDs). The other concerns “substance of abuse” and includes drugs that may not enhance performance, but are indulged for recreational use.
Josh Gordon, whom has been widely discussed since his DWI arrest on July 5th(Click here if you missed it), has had substance abuse problems since his college career. He was suspended twice while at Baylor; his 2nd suspension was indefinitely after failing a drug test. He transferred to Utah in 2011 and sat out the entire season. The Browns selected him in 2012 knowing he had these issues with hopes they were past him. However, the young wide receiver’s career is hanging in limbo as he awaits punishment.
With so many athletes being handed suspensions and/or being let go by teams one would think that there would be a reduce in players being caught.
In a recent interview with Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu best advice he could offer to Josh and other players is “figure it out.” If you recall, Mathieu nearly lost a chance at a NFL career because of marijuana use in college. In a statement he stated:
“Me, having been through it and having a little bit of experience with that, I don’t think anybody in the world could possibly tell him anything,” Mathieu said on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access” on Tuesday night. “No one could tell me anything when I was going through it. I had to figure it out for myself. Hopefully he will get the point.
“Hopefully he will get the message, but most of the time it takes for people to hit rock bottom for them to start believing in their self and start seeking help. A lot of people can reach out to you, but that doesn’t mean you always take that help and take that advice. He just has to want it for himself.”
“You have to weigh your pros and your cons,” Mathieu said. “What do you want to be in life and who do you not want to be in life? You have to add all of those things up.
“I’m pretty sure who you want to be in life will weigh a lot more than who you don’t want to be in life. Hopefully he can get that. I’m still young myself; I don’t know too much about it, but I do know that it takes a lot to look in that mirror and fix yourself.
Now granted Tyrann Mathieu has not been in any trouble since stepping into the NFL (though his personal life tells a different story) and so many other athletes have shaped up and cleaned up their behavior.
The question remains: Why are so many young athletes willing to risk a future they worked so hard for? I think Tyrann Mathieu summed it up though he was addressing Josh Gotrdon’s situation it can apply to all athletes facing the same situations.