Recently, Pro Football Talk pundit Mike Florio was reviewing the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy following the upheld suspension of New England receiver Julian Edelman. Florio came across this little tidbit.
“The NFL Management Council may, prior to the conclusion of a Player’s appeal, reduce the length of the suspension and corresponding bonus forfeiture by up to 50% when the Player has provided full and complete assistance (including hearing testimony if required) to the Management Council which results in the finding of an additional violation of the Policy by another Player, coach, trainer or other person subject to this Policy,” the policy states.
So basically, any player found in violation of the league’s PED policy can reduce their own suspension by snitching on someone else they know is on PEDs.
The Raiders’ own Bruce Irvin read of this and replied on Twitter:
that’s hilarious https://t.co/Cs0RZBkQGc— Bruce Irvin (@BIrvin_WVU11) July 6, 2018
And Raider QB Derek Carr found the story equally amusing:
Bro ♂️ https://t.co/Ed9Gr8a9vh— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) July 7, 2018
First of all, “snitches get stitches” is a thing. Many NFL players came up in the world from fairly harsh conditions, and getting them to rat on their fellow players or team employees simply goes against their entire worldview. It’s the sort of goody two-shoes garbage that is harming the reputation of the NFL.
It’s one thing for a player like Colin Kaepernick or Eric Reid to be (allegedly) blackballed because of their national anthem antics. That can be construed as a business decision. But imagine how it would look if a player snitched on a fellow player about steroids or another type of PED. That player would simply not be welcome in an NFL locker room again, regardless of their ability. Nobody likes a rat or a sellout.
Furthermore, this policy echoes the draconian Chinese “social credit” system that rewards toeing the party line and punishes dissent with very real, life-altering effects. It’s dystopian and reminds one of the book 1984.
Perhaps this is much ado about nothing. I would be gobsmacked if there were ever a single player who took advantage of this part of the NFL’s PED policy. But the mere fact that it exists at all is disturbing. Irvin and Carr think it’s funny now, but when the NFL Gestapo knocks down the door of the next steroid offender, no one will be laughing.