It seemed the moment after the news that All Pro Colts linebacker Robert Mathis would be suspended for four games for the upcoming season, fans everywhere were rushing to sign petitions to get his suspension lifted. Yeah that will happen the second Roger Goodell takes a pay cut.
The Colts will obviously miss their only premier defensive player, who almost outsacked his entire teammates last season 19.5 to 22.5, and forced as many fumbles(8) as the rest of the team. Yet, here we are, left with four tough games without one of the faces of the franchise.
While all of the facts from each side have not come out yet, it is safe to presume that Mathis willingly and knowingly took a banned substance, the same one Manny Ramerez was suspended for in baseball. So what did his apology really mean.
“It is difficult for me to address the circumstances surrounding this suspension because they involve very personal medical information, but it is very important to me that my fans, particularly young people, understand what did and did not occur. Like many families, my wife and I faced fertility challenges, and I sought medical assistance.
I understand that some people have trouble conceiving, but Mathis and his wife were lucky enough to be blessed with twins in 2012, and are expecting another child. So there is legitimacy here, but why was nothing discovered before? I am not calling Mathis a liar by any means, just asking questions.
I specifically asked the doctor if the medication he prescribed for me would present a problem for NFL drug testing, and unfortunately, he incorrectly told me that it would not. I made the mistake of not calling the NFL or NFLPA to double check before I took the medication at the end of last season.
We have heard this excuse before in former players in many profesional leagues, but my doctor said it was OK. I know it is someone natural instinct to trust a doctor, but in the case of a professional athlete, who’s paycheck depends on this, his agent and himself should have checked with the league.
“The union has worked very closely with me to present all of the facts and medical records for consideration of discipline that does not include a suspension because of the unique facts of my case, but the Commissioner refused the request.
The league has since come out saying that Mathis dropped the request, and accepted the suspension, that will raise a lot of questions to people as to the legitimacy of him taking the drug.
I am deeply saddened that this situation will prevent me from contributing to my team for four games, and I regret that I didn’t cross check what my doctor told me before I took the medication. I hope that my fans will understand the unique circumstances involved here and continue to know that I am a man of integrity who would never intentionally circumvent the performance enhancing substance policy agreed to by the NFL and my union.
Colts fans have shown undying support of their beloved star on many social media platforms, and will stick by his side. He did the right thing here in not only apologizing about his actions, but specifically to his teammates and more importantly Colts fans.
“The incredible blessing of this very upsetting situation is that, after I took the medication very briefly at the end of last season, we learned that my wife is expecting a baby. We are thrilled that we will be welcoming a new member in several months, but I apologize to my teammates, coaches and Colts fans that I will not be able to contribute to my team for the first four weeks of the 2014 season. I will work extremely hard during that time to stay in top football shape and will be prepared to contribute immediately upon my return.”
There is no question surrounding his heart and effort to be back into top physical football shape for his return, and in that he should be back to his All Pro level when he returns to the team.
In the meantime, the “next man up” as Colts head coach Chuck Pagano put it will have to step up and fill the giant void left on the defense.