We knew even after all of the player wrangling over the Water Pills-gate, that NFL would not budge in terms of players facing suspensions. The NFL on Tuesday had seen and heard enough as six players were suspended for four games each for violating the NFL Policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances.
The suspended players are DE Charles Grant, RB Deuce McAllister and DE Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints, long snapper Bryan Pittman of the Houston Texans, and Defensive Tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams of the Minnesota Vikings. The suspensions will take effect immediately causing the players to miss the final four games of the 2008 regular season without pay. Though most of the players maintained “ignorance” to a product that they didn’t know contained a an NFL banned substance, the NFL said that the players specifically violated a longstanding provision of the policy related to the use of diuretics and water pills — sometimes serve as masking agents for steroids.
The NFL policy, which was collectively bargained between the NFL and the NFLPA, states that the use of so-called “blocking” or “masking” agents, including diuretics and water pills, is prohibited and that a positive test will not be excused because it results from the use of a dietary supplement that unknowingly contained a banned substance. Players have been warned in the policy’s language with the statement, “You and you alone are responsible for what goes into your body,” and “Claiming that you used only legally available nutritional supplements will not help you in an appeal … Even if they are bought over-the-counter from a known establishment, there is currently no way to be sure that they contain the ingredients listed on the packaging or have not been tainted with prohibited substances … If you take these products, you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK!”
Unfortunately the players listed will not be available to return to their teams until December 29th, which unfortunately would be until the playoffs, if their team qualifies. Though the players and their teams may not like it, the rules are the rules and I have to agree with the NFL on this one. The NFL and NFLPA are serious about supplements and pills, so everyone must comply and be very mindful of what goes into their body. The team I believe to be hardest hit by the suspensions is the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikes recently defeated the Bears for first place in week 13 and all signs pointed to the (7-5) team winning the competitve NFC North. However without their defensive tackle tag team of Pat and Kevin Williams, the odds just got a little longer for the Vikings to make into the playoffs. I know head coach Brad Childress will preach that the Vikings have to keep fighting on, but it is going to take a monumental effort by running back Adrian Peterson and defensive end Jared Allen to will Minnesota to the post season. The Vikings trek without their over 600 pounds of defensive girth begins this week at winless Detroit.