We take a look at Richard Sherman's PED appeal victory, and what it means moving forward.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman announced on Twitter on Thursday that he was victorious in his appeal of an impending four-game suspension for illegally using Adderall. Sherman and fellow Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner both tested positive for the banned substance. Browner accepted his suspension and will serve his final game this weekend against the St. Louis Rams. This result means the Seahawks will have Browner and Sherman back for the playoffs.
I know plenty of 49ers fans will be upset with this result, but that's life. Sherman reportedly argued the collected urine specimen was contaminated. This upset the chain of custody, and could be a reason he popped positive. He will have to deal with skepticism on this, in a similar manner that Ryan Braun has due to his own successful appeal on chain of custody grounds.
While it might seem unfair, as Bomani Jones pointed out, chain of custody is a big deal. There is a specific protocol in place, and if the testers do not follow it, it really is only fair for a player to be exonerated. Again, it doesn't mean a person didn't use the substance, but in the idea of innocent until proven guilty, this is all part of the process. If a similar situation happened to a 49ers player, we'd be demanding nothing less.
This obviously doesn't make up for the brashness and arrogance we often see from Sherman, but that is not a reason to punish him in this case. It sucks as a fan of an opposing team, but for the purposes of fairness, this strikes me as the correct decision.
This is also a big deal for the playoffs, given that it means the Seahawks will have both Sherman and Browner back in their secondary for their first playoff game. The Seahawks are playing incredibly well right now, and this only improves that defense heading into January. They will be a dangerous team when it matters most.