Another NFL Drug Suspension that Leaves Us with Questions

If you haven’t heard the hilarious story, Wes Welker was suspended 4 games for the NFL for (possibly) taking molly at the Kentucky Derby.  First of all, let’s acknowledge that that last sentence is one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever heard when it comes to a punishment for an athlete.

But more importantly, this is another example of the clusterfuck that is the NFL’s drug suspension policy.  Since the end of the 2012 season, Richard Sherman successfully appealed his drug test because he argued that the sample collector used a second cup  because the first was broken, which is a weird rule to have but even weirder that a sample collector broke such a basic rule.  Then we had the Josh Gordan fiasco, which was flat out stupid, as I pointed out last week.  If the collector had taken the first cup of Gordon’s piss as the second one, he would’ve passed the test.  Makes total sense, right?  We’ve also had the Jim Irsay situation, which is pretty grim and certainly nothing to laugh at (i have a post coming on that one shortly.)  And now, we’ve had both Orlando Scandrick and Wes Welker get popped for molly — or more specifically, the amphetamines that molly is often cut with.

Scandrick took the blame and apologized for his suspension, but our old friend Wes is playing it differently.  Welker says that he doesn’t use molly or any other drug, and that there’s no way that he took anything at the Kentucky Derby.  He even suggested that someone might have slipped something in his drink, which seems like the kind of prank that he might play on someone in the Patriots locker room a few years back based off of what I’ve heard.  Actually, he wouldn’t do that unless it involved a way of making fun of Rex Ryan’s foot fetish.

Anyway, I don’t believe Welker’s response.  Maybe he didn’t realize what he was taking, but did you notice that what Welker really denied is that he would “knowingly” take anything that would give him an advantage over opponents?  Maybe that’s true, and it is possible that he didn’t know that his molly had amphetamines in it.  Pretty sure nothing was slipped in his drink, but I’ll buy into the fact that Welker wouldn’t take anything to give him an advantage.  After all, it sounds like he’s admitting that whatever was in his system happened during the Kentucky Derby, and why take something to give you an edge on the field in early May?

But here’s one counterargument I will make in this case:  The recent instances with the NFL’s drug-related rulings make some doubt creep into my mind.  Welker may have been lying, and he probably was, but I also was sure to take note of the fact that he went after the league’s drug testing policies.  Maybe he’s just trying to cover himself since he knows they’re flawed anyway, but he might have been going after them with good reason in this case.  Either way, the only thing that I’m sure of in this case is that it doesn’t make much sense to suspend a player for taking a recreational drug, especially in the offseason.  I’d rather have a player pop a molly in May than have a legal, and possibly lethal, Vicodin prescription, which Welker may very well have within the next few years because of all his concussions.  But a quarter of the season for toking up or taking a drug that is pretty much geared for college kids going to a concert?  Only in the NFL.

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