Alshon Jeffery has been suspended for four games without pay for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, and the Chicago Bears wideout blamed his PED violation on a popular culprit: a recommended supplement that, unbeknownst to him, contained a banned ingredient.
How difficult is it for players to keep up with the league’s substance rules? How difficult is it for players to know what they’re putting in their body and what the NFL does and does not allow?
“Not difficult at all,” NFL analyst Ross Tucker said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I really don’t buy any guy that says that. Here’s my rule, and it’s very simple: My rule as a player, I didn’t put anything in my body unless I got it from the team. Nothing. A lot of times, they have supplements there that you can take. They’ll have different things. Unless I got it from the team, I wasn’t taking it – because if I got it from the team and tested positive, then that’s on them. I wasn’t going to take that chance. But my rule now for these guys that say it’s a tainted supplement: Unless and until you name the supplement manufacturer and the name of the supplement and sue them, I am going to choose to not believe you. If you took something and there was an ingredient that wasn’t on the label that caused you to test positive – Alshon Jeffrey is losing $3.5 million dollars this year. That doesn’t even take into account what might happen to his contract after this year since he’s playing under the franchise tag. If you are going to lose $3.5 million, you better sue them or else I don’t believe you. You better sue that supplement manufacturer. Until they name the manufacturer, name the actual supplement and then sue them, I will choose to not believe them.”
Tucker also weighed in on the NFL’s decision to revisit its marijuana policy, as many players believe that marijuana is a better alternative for pain management than pain killers. It also helps that four states – California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine – voted last week to legalize recreational marijuana.
Should the NFL follow suit?
“I think it should strongly be considered,” Tucker said. “I was a guy that unfortunately got injured a decent amount and had my fair share of Vicodin and Toradol. I will tell you when I first heard that, I was pretty skeptical. I thought it was just guys that just wanted to be able to smoke weed. I was questioning how much they really wanted to do it for the pain, and I don’t have sympathy for guys that do it right now because they know what the rule is. But the reality is, I know guys when I was in the NFL that smoked marijuana every day. You only get tested one time in May or June. It’s basically an intelligence test. You know it’s coming, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to be able to pass that. So when these guys fail, it’s almost like the NFL suspended them for being stupid. It wasn’t that hard to be able to pass the one test a year. I don’t think the NFL really wants to suspend these guys. As much as they don’t want to suspend these guys for marijuana, I also think that they don’t want to send the message to middle America that marijuana usage is okay before the federal government does that, if that makes sense.”