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.

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Cushing’s positive test was for hCG

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Brian Cushing’s positive drug test back in September of last year was for abnormally elevated levels of “hCG,” which is a non-steroidal substance produced naturally in the body.

The problem is that it’s often taken by steroid users to restore testicular size after doing a cycle. Cushing claims that the positive test wasn’t due to steroids and while that may be technically true, the “hCG” may have been taken to mask his use of roids.

If “hCG” sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same thing Manny Ramirez was suspended for in 2009. It’s disappointing that athletes are still doping, but it’s reassuring that they’re being caught in both sports. We’d be naïve to believe that all athletes are clean, but at least when they’re caught, they’re being punished.

Speaking of punishment, this report doesn’t help Cushing’s case for keeping his ROY award. The AP is already considering having a re-vote and if his suspension really was due to his steroid use (or his masking of his steroid use), then voters are going to have a hard time not stripping the award from him.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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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