Should Cushing be stripped of his ROY award?

Brian Cushing claims that it wasn’t steroids that caused him to fail a positive drug test last September. He’s not saying what it was exactly and unless he confesses, we may never know the real reason why he was suspended for four games next season.

But either way, he did take something and whatever it was, it may cause him to lose his 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year Award according to AP advisor Dave Goldberg.

Per Goldberg, the AP may hold a re-vote for the award in light of Cushing’s failed drug test. If there is a re-vote and Cushing loses, then Bills’ safety Jarius Byrd would likely be given the trophy seeing as how he finished second in the voting last year.

But would that be fair? What if Cushing accidentally took a supplement that contained something that was banned by the NFL? In other words, what if it wasn’t steroids? Have you ever seen the list of substances that are banned by the league? Players can’t even take cough medicine without having it approved by a team doctor or trainer. So while we can speculate all we want about what Cushing took, there’s a possibility that he will lose his ROY award (not to mention incentives based on rookie-year accomplishments) over something minor.

That said, if he was suspended for steroids, then there’s a strong argument to be made that he should lose the award. After all, if he knew back in September that he had failed the test and played virtually the entire season knowing that he’d eventually be suspended, then maybe he should be stripped of the award. Some fans want all of the records during baseball’s steroid era to be stricken from the books, so why shouldn’t Cushing lose his award too? Cheating is cheating.

Personally, if Cushing was caught using steroids, then Byrd should be the rightful winner of the award in my eyes. But if Cushing used a supplement that could be bought over the counter by any one of us at GNC, then I’m sorry, but I think the award should stay with him. The league is already punishing him with the four-game suspension, so that should be enough if he was simply careless about checking with a team doctor before using a potentially banned substance. Why take his hard-earned award away too?

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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