The NFL does not typically comment in depth about suspensions but today they issued a statement regarding the four game suspension of Colts defensive end Robert Mathis and the subsequent comments of his agent Hadley Englehard:
“As Mr. Mathis’s agent acknowledged today, his client failed to follow the protocols in the policy that the NFL and NFLPA agreed upon to address precisely these kinds of claims,” the statement said. “That policy also prescribes the disciplinary consequences of a positive test. The policy does not provide — nor should it provide — for the Commissioner to override the policy’s procedures and assess discipline on an after-the-fact, ad hoc basis. Here Mr. Mathis actually withdrew his appeal and accepted discipline at the union’s suggestion. His hearing took place only after the Players Association requested that the appeal be reinstated.
“The drug for which Mr. Mathis tested positive is not approved by the FDA for fertility in males and is a performance-enhancing drug that has been prohibited for years. Importantly, Mr. Mathis did not consult with the policy’s Independent Administrator, a physician jointly approved by the NFL and NFL Players Association. Nor did he consult with his team doctor, the team’s training staff, the NFLPA, the league office or the hotline established under the policy to give confidential information to players. Each of these sources would have warned against using this substance. A cornerstone of the program is that a player is responsible for what is in his body. Consistent application of the policy’s procedures is critical to the integrity of the program.”
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