Wednesday Weisblog: Injecting some common sense into the steroid controversy

Thanks to my friend Mike for today’s topic suggestion. (Yes, I do take requests as long as the topic is not so controversial that I’ll lose readers.)

Today’s topic is a sticky one – the NFL’s recent attempted suspensions of six players for using a diuretic called Bumetanide found in StarCaps, an over-the-counter weight loss supplement.

Mike believes the players should not be suspended, and here is why: The NFL wants to suspend these players because StarCaps could aid in masking steroids. But Mike maintains that unless you can prove these players were using steroids they should not be suspended.

People who disagree with Mike might say that the league’s policy is, “If you use illegal substances you will be suspended,” and there should be no exceptions. I agree with that, too, but here’s the caveat: the NFL has authored a long laundry list of banned substances, and StarCaps was not on the list prior to all this happening. Further, the players say that StarCaps doesn’t list all its ingredients on the label.

I’m not a scientist, so I will never be able to tell you if using StarCaps could or could not give users a competitive advantage. But based on my limited knowledge, I agree with Mike’s take – just for a little different reason: How can you penalize the players if the ingredients in question aren’t on the label and no one (trainers or NFL officers) ever warned them about any consequences if the product is used? Ordinarily, I’d say you can’t use ignorance as a defense, but I think you can here. Plus, the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. If you want to punish them, fine them or maybe make them sit out one game. A four-game suspension is excessive in my opinion, because there was no blatant attempt to break any rule here.

Note: Before the suspensions could begin, a federal judge has at least temporarily overturned them. The judge proclaimed the NFL could not suspend the players until he had more time to consider their case.

What do you think? Should these players be suspended? Why or why not? I welcome your comments.

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2 responses to “Wednesday Weisblog: Injecting some common sense into the steroid controversy

  1. Christina, your wife

    I disagree. These players did not take these drugs to lose weight. Even “the frig” did not look in the mirror during his NFL days and decide that he needed a bit of “Jenny Craig”. It is obvious, even to ME that these guys took this stuff to pass the “pee-pee” test and continue playing the game. These guys are being paid ALOT OF MONEY to play and play fairly. They are trying to get away with taking steroids and keeping their nice “one day a week” job. (I’m just kidding I know they practice and spend alot of time entertaining the masses)

    Let’s get real. These guys are there to play football. If they are practicing and playing the kinda games we all know they are playing they could eat McDs everyday and not gain a pound. They were not taking weight loss pills they are hiding a bigger issue.

  2. Star Caps big deal… I am so over all of this crap.
    One thing that was under reported in baseball this past season was how the more veteran laden teams struggled & young teams as the Rays & Marlins had successful seasons… Wasn’t just talent, the ban of pills in the clubhouse, greenies, hurt the older teams that need the little pick me ups those pills gave.

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