Good to see an owner have a player’s back – McNair goes to bat for Cushing

HOUSTON - OCTOBER 04:  Linebacker Brian Cushing #56 of the Houston Texans delivers a hard hit to tight-end Zach Miller #80 of the Oakland Raiders at Reliant Stadium on October 4, 2009 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

While I think it’s a fruitless endeavor, you have to admire the way Texans’ owner Bob McNair has decided to go to bat for linebacker Brian Cushing.

McNair is lobbying the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell to reduce Cushing’s four-game suspension, which the linebacker received for violating the league’s steroid policy. McNair has said that he will present new evidence to Goodell today that he hopes will prove that Cushing has done nothing wrong.

From USA Today:

“We’re supportive of the league program and we’re not questioning that he did test positive for HCG,” McNair said. “We’re not questioning that at all.

“We’re concerned about the athlete and want to make sure that there’s nothing wrong with him and if this was something that was a natural occurrence, we then want to know about it because it could happen again.”

Now, who knows what McNair’s agenda is. After winning the 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year Award last season, it’s obvious that Cushing is vital to Houston’s success. Would McNair be going out on a limb for all his players or is he just doing this because Cushing is one of his key defenders?

Only McNair can answer that question, but the fact that he’s sticking his neck out at all deserves some praise. The owners are about to embark on a nasty battle with the player’s union regarding a new CBA deal, yet here’s McNair going to bat for one of his own. It’s admirable, even if Goodell upholds Cushing’s suspension.

Again, I think McNair is going to come up empty and it stands to reason that he’s a little naive too (especially when you consider that Cushing has been linked to steroids since he was in high school). Plus, what the hell is Overtrained Athlete Syndrome (the condition Cushing claims led to the positive drug test).

But what’s the worse that can happen? Goodell doesn’t think the new evidence is worthy enough to reduce Cushing’s suspension? So what – the Texans have already been preparing to be without Cushing for the first four games anyway. It’s not like anything changes if McNair fails.

But if he succeeds, then not only does Cushing get his suspension reduced but maybe the league will look to address holes in its testing program.

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