I hate the NFL's Substance Abuse Program

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Let me preface this by saying that it’s not actually the NFL’s Substance Abuse Program I have an issue with. However, the mass number of players dropping like flies as a result of failed drug tests is becoming increasingly more frustrating. Two recent violators specifically: former Giants safety Will Hill and current cornerback Jayron Hosley.

The Giants cut Hill earlier this week after a third suspension was handed for his inability to abide by league rules. Then, Hosley received a four-game suspension for a failed drug test Wednesday.

The team’s once-strong secondary is taking some major hits, and it won’t be before long that a real big-time talent on the roster falls to the same fate as Hill and Hosley.

Are these players to blame? Absolutely. Regardless of how you may view certain substances, such as marijuana (which both these men have been punished for using), the players know the rules and refuse to abide by them. As a result, they hurt their teammates, their families and their wallets. So many of these guys come from lives during which they have never had any money, yet they’re willing to squander a far more comfortable and secure lifestyle for the sake of a temporary high? It’s foolish and immature, and indicates that these men are undeserving of an opportunity in the NFL.

However, the NFL’s double standard in the way they hand out punishments needs reform. The Cardinals’ Daryl Washington recently received a one-year suspension for testing positive for marijuana; Cleveland’s Josh Gordon may face the same fate. Are their crimes the equivalent of Donte Stallworth, who got behind the wheel drunk and killed a man? In the NFL’s eyes it appears so, as Stallworth was suspended one year.

Meanwhile, Titans wideout Kenny Britt got a one-game suspension for a DUI in what was his eighth run-in with the law in three years. Visual evidence of the Ravens’ Ray Rice in a domestic abuse case has resulted in no punishment from the NFL as of yet, and all indications are that may remain.

Let me stress again that it is not the NFL’s Substance Abuse Program that I have an issue with, but rather the unfortunate reality of how many players are failing to abide by it and the hypocritical, unbalanced punishment provided by the NFL between violators and legitimate criminals (such as Stallworth). I don’t have a great answer for what the NFL must do to remedy the issues they currently face, but something must be done. The league rules as they currently stand are not working. While it is great the example the league has attempted to set, it may be time to sit down with the players and meet somewhere in the middle to avoid this upward trend of NFL players sitting on the suspension list.


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  • Somebody

    I am not sure I agree with your stance on the punishments from the NFL. You seem to think that Stallworth is a “legitimate criminal”, and while he did commit a crime, it was an unfortunate mistake. His BAC was .126, which is about 6 drinks for him. The man was not in a crosswalk, was dark skinned and wearing dark clothes at night/early morning. When you combine all of that together, Many people think that because they are not stumbling drunk, or slurring the words, and that they have a small buzz, that they are not drunk. While that may be true, they are legally intoxicated and it doesn’t take much to become so. My point is that it was a bad mistake, but it is conceviable that he didn’t think he was breaking the law, again a mistake, no matter how unfortunate. Your two victims mentioned above knew that they were breaking the law, and whats worse they didn’t care or seem to anyway. So whats worse, someone who has an accident because of a laspe in poor judement, or someone who willfully breaks the law. I grant that one is a much more severe tragedy no matter how you put it.