Over the past few days, there has been a lot of discussion about the Brian Cushing drug test issue. Cushing took a drug test in September of last year and was informed of his positive result this past February. He immediately appealed and the NFL eventually rejected his appeal this past week. While the story is relatively new, the steroid issues are not new for Cushing. Last year there was an allegedly erroneous report at NFLDraftBible.com, in which it was reported that Cushing and teammate Clay Mathews both tested positive for steroids prior to the draft. The story died down and people had generally looked past the allegations as Cushing put together an impressive season that netted him rookie of the year honors.
Now, with his failed drug test, Brian Cushing finds himself squarely in the cross-hairs of the media. The Associated Press has announced it will be taking a revote for the Defensive Rookie of the Year for 2009. Additionally, it will also revote for All-Pro outside linebacker, where Cushing was voted onto the second team.
I have to say, I disagree with this decision by the AP. I can kind of see the point they're trying to make, but I don't think it's a point that needs to be made in this situation. In fact, I think it's a step in the wrong direction in attempting this revote. The AP certainly doesn't want to reward cheaters, and that's an admirable stance to take. However, this is not the proper situation to take such a stance.
Brian Cushing did fail a drug test, which put him in violation of the NFL's performance enhancing drug policy. However, at this point nobody knows what drug or masking agent resulted in a positive test. While Cushing did fail in his appeal, he also passed a lie detector test to prove he did not take a performance enhancing drug. The league does not recognize lie detector tests so they did not appear to take it into account in their decision.
I'm not saying the passed lie detector means the AP should not hold a revote. After all, we don't know what questions were asked, or how the PED-related questions were worded. And, as George Costanza once said, "It's not a lie, if you believe it." I know plenty of folks believe the steroid rumors that surround Cushing. I'm not arguing he didn't cheat. Rather I'm arguing that the situation is way too nebulous to be able to justify re-voting.
In reality, this is an extremely slippery slope for the AP to venture down, and I don't know how they plan on handling such matters in the future. Matt Maiocco has a vote in this process and is battling over his potential decision. After all, the stats are still in the record book, and who knows if we'll ever know what caused the positive test. I simply think this is not the way to handle the matter. I'm sure plenty of folks will disagree with me.