Clearly, the NFL would rather not have the 5 guys most suspected of steroid use sitting in front of some Congress subcommittee leading to embarassing hypocritical moments, ala Rafael Palmiero's declaration that the only performance enhancers he uses is for his flaccid, unresponsive penis.
So their solution has been to suspend players for four games (which in a 16 game season, is pretty significant, though it didn't hurt the Chargers much. More on that point in a second) but not really talking about it much. If steroids are an issue in baseball, a game that has always had room for stars who are fat slobs, how much of an issue is it for football, where fat slobs are anonymous players, and have to be almost obscenely large to even be effective? How many people out there are desperate to look like Jason Taylor does (apparently naturally) and perform at his level?
We don't know. In part, because the NFL doesn't really seem to be in a rush to tell us. And nor do players. But Jason Taylor broke that rule, the media suggests in part because some post-season hardware is in danger of falling out of his grasp. Which may be true. I know I'd be pissed if I was lost to a guy who was kicked out for a quarter of the season for cheating. But maybe, and just maybe, he's also annoyed by the very idea of a guy banned for four games for cheating winning a post-season award.
Here's what Jason Taylor said:
"You really shouldn't be able to fail a test like that and play in this league, to begin with...To make the Pro Bowl and all the other awards, I think you're walking a fine line of sending the wrong message...
"A performance-enhancing drug is, obviously, what it is...You enhance your performance by doing that. You fail that test, I think it's not right, it's against the rules and ultimately I think it's sending the wrong message to the youth in America and the people who look at this game not only as entertainment but also to learn lessons from it."
It should be noted, that is a damn good fucking point, right there. It seems instant disqualification for individual post-season honors as part of substance abuse rule makes a lot of sense. Also, I'm pretty sure that back in high school, when I was rocking the soccer pitch and the track oval, if I had tested positive for any banned substance, my team would have forfeited every game I played in. Of course no one caught me--no one suspects the 5'9" kid weighing 130 pounds. But the point remains--why was my NoVA high school district more strict than the NFL is? For all the new stringent requirements in professional sports, why no explicitly stated outcomes that would affect:
1. Post-season, post-career honors
2. The team as a whole, after the fact?
For the record, the first idea is Jason Taylor's, the second is mine. All mine!