Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Brian Cushing Saga

Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing is under fire from both the media and the public due to a recent report that surfaced stating that he tested positive for HCG, a fertility drug that is on the NFLs banned substance list (the same drug that got Manny Ramirez suspended for 50 games last year).

Why is this such a big deal? The failed test is causing such a commotion because it occurred during the 2009 NFL season which is the same season Cushing was named the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Now the members of the media were split on what to do about this. There were some, like Sports Illustrated Senior NFL Writer Peter King, who feel that Cushing should have had award stripped and that a revote should take place. While others, like ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter, who believe, "Brian Cushing was suspended four games and has created doubters in him - that is his punishment. Losing an award shouldn't be tacked on."

I agree with Schefter that the award shouldn't be stripped but for a different reason. I don't buy into the whole idea that Cushing has suffered anything simple because his public image took a hit. No, I don't think he should lose his award because he didn't really do anything wrong.

First off HCG is a non-steroidal substance that is produced naturally in the body. Yes it is often found in guys who are coming off a steroid cycle but how can you ban a substance that the body naturally produces. That would make as much sense as banning testosterone. There is no proof that Cushing was on steroids and in 3 subsequent tests he was found to be clean so really all that has happened is an anomaly was discovered and reported as fact.

Secondly if you think that 95% of the players in the NFL aren't on steroids you're an idiot. They all do it they just all don't get caught. Now I am not condoning steroids and trying to justify taking them 'just because everyone else is' but to target a player like this when he is really just the rule and not the exception is wrong. Plus its not like steroids make you a better tackler or allow you to read offenses better that was all Cushing. To take away his award and to diminish his accomplishments would be wrong especially because...

In 2004 Julius Peppers won Defensive Rookie of the Year even though he missed 4 games due to a suspension for steroids. Then there is Shawne Merriman who was suspended for 4 games due to a positive steroid test. By the way this occurred in 2005, the same year he was awarded DROY by the Associated Press. Neither of these two men had their awards taken away. So how is that fair? Why does Cushing become the proverbial line in the sand?

A lot of people are pointing to the fact that there were concerns over his size and strength gains when he was in high school but that argument holds no water for one simple reason: puberty. You can try and say he was on steroids but a more likely explanation is that he hit puberty which allowed him to put on immense amounts of muscle quickly because of elevated levels of testosterone.

This is one of the problems with modern sports. If a guy has a career year or seems to be a big bigger than before people automatically assume steroids. Maybe the guy quit smoking or got married and is no longer out living the Ben Roethlisberger lifestyle. And maybe the guy hit the gym for the first time in his life. Modern nutrition and supplementation is evolving at an exponential rate and it is allowing for gains people never thought possible.

For some reason it seems the media is out to get this kid. The aforementioned Peter King recently tweeted, "There is no way--none--that as one of the 50 AP voters, I can vote for a performance-enhancer as Defensive Rookie of the Year. And I won't." Now this is the same jerk off who voted for both Peppers and Merriman and has yet to say anything negative about either of them so why get so worked up over Cushing? I can`t figure it out.

What I have figured out is that the AP people are pissed off. I think they feel embarrassed that they keep voting for the guys who are dumb enough to get caught and they want to ensure their award doesn`t lose its prestige. So a revote is being held tomorrow to see if Cushing will be stripped of his award. They seem to be rushing to get this over with and not allowing time for all the facts to come out so it doesn`t look good for Cushing but I have faith that not all 50 voters will be as big as a blowhard as Peter King.

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