Cushing should just give his ROY award back

I’ve got an idea: Instead of allowing the AP to decide whether or not it’s fair for him to keep the honor, maybe Texans’ linebacker Brian Cushing should just return the 2009 Rookie of the Year Award in light of his four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Talk about a bold, respectable move.

I know, I know – if he did that then he’d be admitting guilt. But here’s the thing, he’s already been proven guilty. He’s already been caught and instead of throwing himself at the mercy of the media and fans when he was, he went with the tried and true method of skirting the issue by saying he wasn’t suspended for steroids.

Right, Brian – we know you weren’t suspended for steroids. You were suspended for hCG, which is used to insure that your balls go back to the same size after you use steroids. Big difference.

Cushing, and every other athlete who has ever been caught or will be caught using PEDs, should follow in the footsteps of Yankees starter Andy Pettitte. When he was caught, he fessed up – immediately. He didn’t run from the problem and he didn’t try to make excuses. He was open about why he took them (he wanted to heal faster) and was sincere in his apology. He knew he messed up and the only thing that was left to do was pray that fans would forgive him.

What many athletes don’t realize is that fans want to be forgiving. They want to accept that athletes are human and make mistakes just like everybody else. What fans don’t appreciate is being lied to and made to look like naïve fools. When someone like Cushing says that he wasn’t suspended for steroids and then less than 24 hours later reports surface that the positive drug test was for hCG, fans feel lied to.

So what’s Cushing to do? Bite down, swallow hard and fess up. Then he needs to voluntarily give his ROY award back and admit that he didn’t earn it. Because whether or not the AP re-votes him the winner of the trophy or forces him to give it up, he’s not going to feel good about the situation. That award will always been tied to his four-game suspension so he might as well do the honorable thing and just give it back.

And if he does, watch how fast fans are willing to forgive.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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