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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Cushing’s attorney says client had existing gland issue

Brian Cushing’s camp is fighting to maintain the linebacker’s innocence. Now his attorney is stating that Cushing’s positive drug test came from an enlarged pituitary gland and a surgical procedure he had while at USC.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Steinberg was brought in by Condon after Cushing learned in October he had failed the first test taken in September. Steinberg explained the process.

“For every test, there are two samples taken — ‘A’ bottle and ‘B’ bottle,” Steinberg said. “If ‘A’ bottle tests positive, then ‘B’ bottle is tested by a separate lab.

“The ‘A’ bottle was barely over the discernible and legal limit pursuant to the policy. The ‘B’ bottle got tested, and we were notified it was below the limit. As a result, it was deemed to be a negative test.”

Then Cushing submitted to another test several weeks later, according to Steinberg. Both samples came back positive.

“When we inquired about the level (of the new ‘A’ bottle), we were told it was about the same as the original ‘A’ bottle, the first test,” Steinberg said. “We were operating under the premise that we may well get a negative ‘B’ bottle, which would render this test negative as well. When that ‘B’ bottle came back positive, then it became a positive test.”

The article goes on to note that two NFL experts disagreed on whether or not males can naturally produce hCG in their bodies. One expert said no, the other said yes. So now Cushing’s camp can pit the two experts against each other. As Cushing’s lawyer said, if the two NFL experts are in disagreement, how can the NFL hold up the linebacker’s suspension?

That said, keep in mind that this is coming from Cushing’s lawyer, who is paid to build a defense for his client. We’ll just have to wait and see what other reports are released, because it’s clear that this story isn’t dying. I will say this: if Cushing is innocent, he’s going all out to prove it, which is what somebody should do if they’ve been wrongly accused.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Cushing: “I haven’t done anything wrong.”

Suspended linebacker Brian Cushing claims that while his positive drug test was for the substance hCG, he never injected or ingested it.

So how did it get into his system?

From the Houston Chronicle:

“I was tested in September, and I found out in October I had tested positive,” he said. “I played the rest of the season thinking I had tumors.”


Cushing said he didn’t inject or ingest the hCG that he tested positive for. He said he was unfamiliar with hCG until he tested positive for it, and when he sought advice from doctors, he was told the only way it could have gotten into a system is through injection or by having a tumor.

“I tested positive for such a small amount it can’t be performance enhancing,” Cushing said during a press conference at Reliant Stadium. “I’ve got to get medical help to find out why it happened and to keep it from happening again. I’m not going to change my workout regime or anything I do because I know I haven’t done anything wrong.”

I can’t imagine that this kid played an entire season thinking he had tumors and the Texans didn’t do anything about it. So either he’s lying about how the hCG got in his system or the Texans are the most irresponsible franchise in the history of football.

While you’re chewing on that, here’s an interesting tidbit from AOL on Cushing’s potential steroid problem:

One NFL general manager, requesting anonymity, offered this scorching view: “We did our research on him before the draft last year and we concluded he was a chronic steroid user dating back to high school. More than a few people were surprised when he passed the steroid tests at the combine. I think the guy became a pro at masking it, until he was caught. I definitely would have taken my vote back on that award if I had one.”

There may not have been a more privately and publicly rumored steroid user than Cushing before any NFL Draft.

Granted, there was never been proof before this positive test that Cushing was a steroid user. But while I should probably just leave it at that and move on, I must say: If it walks, talks and acts like a duck, the freaking thing is probably a duck.

We’ll see. Maybe more will be uncovered, or maybe this story will die now that he’s made a public statement. But if he is lying, rest assured somebody will find out.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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

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

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