Should the NFL be testing for recreational drugs?

With the Sam Hurd fiasco, the NFL has a PR problem on its hands. It will get even worse if Hurd starts to sing and name NFL players as his clients for his alleged drug-dealing exploits.

With that, we’re getting the proverbial declarations that the NFL should be doing more about recreational drugs. Gary Myers takes his stab at arguing for tougher testing by the NFL. Here are some of the highlights:

As strict as the NFL is with its year-round random steroid testing program — it knocks on players’ doors in the offseason — that’s how easy it is to beat the recreational drug test. All players are tested once a year during a three-month window that opens around minicamp and closes with the training camp physical.

Sometime between May 1 and Aug. 1, players know they are going to have to pee in a bottle and their urine will be tested for cocaine, marijuana or other recreational drugs.

This is not so much a drug test as an intelligence test. How stupid does a player have to be — or how dependent on drugs must he be — to fail a test when he knows it’s coming?

Once a player passes his annual test, he is free and clear for at least the next nine months until the test the following year or if there is reasonable cause to believe he has a drug problem.

Dead giveaway that a player might have a marijuana problem: He comes in every day with blood shot eyes and sits in the meeting room with 10 bags of potato chips. White powder around his nose might indicate a cocaine problem.

So, a player not only has to be dumb to flunk the annual test, but awfully dumb or dependent to exhibit signs of drug use in the workplace.

The NFL considers steroids a competitive issue, but recreational drugs a medical issue. If a player has a problem, it tries to get him help. If he keeps flunking tests, he gets suspended. A first-time flunked steroids test gets four games. The union has blocked the NFL from starting a HGH blood-testing program.

He ends the column with this proclamation:

The NFL needs the same deterrent for recreational drugs as it has with steroids. It wouldn’t stop a player from dealing. Leave that to the feds. But it would stop players from using. Pee in the cup, boys.

He also spends time talking about other drug problems in the past like the Jamal Lewis conviction.

What we don’t get from Myers is any argument at all as to why the NFL should get tougher here. He just proclaims it, yet offers no reason, as if it should just be obvious.

For some people, it is obvious, but that’s why we have a failed War on Drugs. There’s this notion that we need to control people and stop them for doing stupid things. Good luck.

It’s perfectly rational for an employer to test for drugs in work environments where safety is a concern. We don’t want construction workers toking up or downing six packs at lunch. Same goes for airline pilots.

And, it’s logical for the NFL to test for performance enhancing drugs, as it affects the integrity of the game. The NFL understands, however, that smoking marijuana is not going to improve your 40 time. In fact, all the Cheetos you end up eating will slow you down instead.

I think the NFL has it right here. They are concerned about the health of players, so they have a loose policy on recreational drugs that gets tough when an obvious problem arises. But they really don’t care that much if football players who get the crap beat out of them every week decide to relax with a joint in the offseason. Kudos to the NFL.

And as far as PR goes, the NFL avoids PR problems by not testing so vigorously. If you get tough, then you’ll have more violations, and more needless headlines.

People are always quick to demand restrictions on the behavior of others. Does Myers have to submit to drug testing? Did he have too many beers when he wrote his column? Of course the notion of randomly testing journalists is absurd, but it’s not less absurd than the notion of testing football players.

Leave the players alone unless there’s an obvious problem.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Favre could return next season with the Vikings

NFL sources are telling New York Daily News football columnist Gary Myers that Brett Favre cannot peacefully retire until he gains his revenge on the Green Bay Packers. He wants back into the NFC North Division in order to play the Packers twice next season. Favre wants to play well and show them that it was mistake in trading him away last season.

Myers is connecting the dots and seeing where this may lead:

• Favre retired in February, but the New York Jets refused his request to release him, wanting to keep his rights in the event he changed his mind and wanted to play again – he is prone to flip-flop, of course – and Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff stunk up their new $75 million practice facility in the offseason.
• The Jets traded up to get Mark Sanchez in the draft last weekend and the text-messaging between GM Mike Tannenbaum and Favre intensified. Favre still wanted to completely cut his contractual ties with the Jets. Three days later, the Jets released him. Sources say Favre, who will be 40 in October, wants to keep his options open. Favre released a statement saying, “At this time, I am retired and have no intention of returning to football.”
The three key words: “At this time.”
• The Minnesota Vikings are a quarterback short of being a Super Bowl contender, and they need to sell tickets and have been trying for years to get a new stadium.

Favre’s bitterness is creating this scenario, and he has authorized his agent to indirectly contact the Vikings about playing for them next season. Media reports from Minnesota have reported that the Vikings have had internal discussions about adding Favre to the roster. And many in the NFL believe that we haven’t seen the last of him on a football field. As long as a team is willing to give him a roster spot, Favre will play.

Tim Cowlishaw pours big cup of jinx over Cardinals

If their team loses to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII, Arizona Cardinal fans can thank Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News for it.

Larry FitzgeraldThe torch really has been passed now. The best player in the NFL plays for the Arizona Cardinals, and his name is Larry Fitzgerald. He’s the reason the Steelers will not become the first franchise to win six Super Bowls this time around.

The Cardinals, leaving the Detroit Lions as the only team to participate in all 43 seasons without reaching a Super Bowl, will become the 18th franchise to win their first.

These Cardinals aren’t the best team in the NFL, and they weren’t anything close to it during the regular season. But suddenly their defense stops every team’s running attack. Suddenly, their secondary that got beat up so often makes all the right plays.

Kurt Warner is playing as if he’s 27, not 37, and the biggest reason for that is a game-breaking and game-changing receiver that the Steelers will not be able to cover.

It has been six decades since the Cardinals won a title and four decades since I decided as a kid they were going to produce a superior product than the Cowboys.

Needless to say, I spent a lot of years being wrong on that one.

That’s why it feels so good now to be right.

After Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution jinxed the Falcons by stating that they would beat the Cardinals in the wild card round three weeks ago, I warned Gary Myers of the New York Daily News that he crimped the Giants by claiming there was no way the Eagles would beat the G-Men in the divisional round.

And now this – Cowlishaw, a former Cardinal fan, is doing the same thing to ‘Zona for the Super Bowl. NFL columnists are 0-2 this postseason when they write an article claiming one team will emphatically beat their opponent. Now Sir Jinx-A-Lot the III is about to make NFL columnists 0-3 in the postseason.

Looks like I’m going with the Steel Curtain when I make my Super Bowl prediction next week. Thanks, Cowlishaw.

Gary Myers lays kiss of death on Giants

Gary Myers of the New York Daily News puts the crimp on the Giants this weekend, writing that there’s no way the Eagles will go into East Rutherford and knock off the G-Men.

Eli ManningThis will be an NFC East slugfest Sunday at Giants Stadium because it always is.

Giants 23, Eagles 13.

It should be noted that last year, right here in your Daily News, I not only predicted each of the Giants’ four playoff victories, including the huge upset of the Patriots in the Super Bowl, but had the margin of victory just about on the nose each week. Just wanted to point that out.

The Giants were the best team in the NFC all season despite losing to the Eagles and Cowboys back-to-back in December. But when they faced their only must-win of the season on that Sunday night against the Panthers in the battle for the No. 1 seed in the 15th game, they rallied to send the game into overtime and then won it.

This is a tough-minded team. Doesn’t mean the Giants are sure things to repeat as Super Bowl champions, but they do have a lot of heart, and it’s going to take a near perfect game from the Eagles to knock them out of the playoffs.

The Giants are the best at finding a cause that doesn’t even exist and not letting go. Even after winning the Super Bowl and going 12-4 and being picked by many to run through these playoffs and win it all again, they still feel disrespected. It’s ridiculous, of course, but it works for them.

Fair enough, but let’s take a look at the facts:

A) The Giants haven’t played a complete game in over a month. (Week 13 in a 23-7 victory at Washington to be exact.)
B) Eli Manning hasn’t passed for over 200 yards since Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg.
C) The Eagles have the third best defense in the NFL, including the fourth best run defense.
D) Philly has already proven they can beat the Giants in New York.

I’m not saying it’s a slam-dunk Eagle victory, but this is no time to be predicting wins days before the game.

One last thing Myers might want to chew on is that Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote before the Falcons’ playoff game last week that they would beat the Cardinals in Arizona. He poured a big cup of jinx all over the Falcons and I’m afraid Myers might have just done the same thing to the Giants.

Related Posts