Look, it’s a hard-line league with a hard-line policy. A lot of readers have said: “Wait, we have to see what he tested positive for.” I disagree. And the fact that in his statement he didn’t offer up what he claims it was, but only that it wasn’t a steroid, weakened his public case. He ingested something he wasn’t supposed to. It might have been by mistake, but even if it was, it doesn’t matter under the policy. Violate it and suffer the consequences of perception.
Cushing missed most of training camp last year with a knee injury. The suspension for the first four weeks of the regular season puts a difficult wrinkle into Gary Kubiak’s training camp and preseason plans. How much doesn’t Cushing play with the first team? How much time does his likely replacement, Xavier Adibi, get? Or if Kubiak creates a competitive situation for the job for the first quarter of the season, how does Kubiak hold that battle during camp and still weave Cushing into the action?
I wish I remembered where I read someone tweeting this over the weekend, but certainly it’s a popular thought. Can you imagine the outcry if Andrew Bailey or Chris Coghlan, the AL and NL rookies of the year for baseball in 2009, got suspended for violating a policy against performance enhancers? The NFL had done well insulating itself, somehow, from a similar outcry in the exact same situation. I’ve seen and heard a lot of disappointment, even some disgust. Most of it’s about the Texans having to play without him for the first four games. There isn’t an outcry I am hearing insisting that Cushing give back the defensive rookie of the year award or that the league strip him of it.
Finally, Cushing’s suspension created quite an interesting conversation about loyalty on Twitter. Jay Glazer of Fox covers the NFL and also trains several players in mixed martial arts to improve their conditioning, strength and agility. He quickly tweeted that he was “livid” and that his company has “a pretty strict policy against cheaters.” Texans right offensive tackle Eric Winston also chimed in.
Here’s a bit more on how it went in the Twitterverse:
2:21 PM May 8th @Jay_Glazer: “Right now, no, we will not be training him. We do not want to be associated w any of this crap. Gotta cool off b4 we make a final decision”
3:51 PM May 8th @ericwinston: “Wow! With friends like Jay Glazer who needs enemies! He used Cush to pump up his service and then when Cush hits a bump in the road, he”
3:52 PM May 8th @ericwinston: “Wants nothing to do with him. Sad to see just another guy out there for personal gain and could care less about the people he works with.”
3:53 PM May 8th @ericwinston: I'm not saying Cush it's ok to break the rules but you stick by your friends, not run from them when they face adversity.
6:44 PM May 8th @Jay_Glazer: “Last thing on Cush, he'll always be my boy! Love training him. Randy& I have to take a hard stance on some things. Hope we all get past this”
8:08 PM May 8th @Jay_Glazer: “Hey, this is new ground for me and randy, we're trying to swim our way through. I don't think there's any clear-cut answer. Day by day”