Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Jul 2015

NFL Hands Down 4-Game Suspensions: Richardson, Gates, McClain

The NFL has suspended New York Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson without pay for the first four games of the 2015 regular season for violating the NFL's policy and program for substances of abuse.

Richardson was fourth among defensive linemen in run tackles last year, and on most teams this would be a devastating loss. For the Jets, they still have Damon Harrison (second in run tackles) and Muhammad Wilkerson (13th), and they spent a first-round pick on Leonard Williams, so they should be OK. (Although Richardson's 8.0 sacks might be more difficult to replace.)

UPDATE: Cap analyst Jimmy Halsell reports that Richardson's suspension will void more than $3 million in guaranteed money. Ouch.

FURTHER UPDATE: Well, apparently, it's "hand down drug suspensions" day at NFL headquarters.

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain has also been suspended four games for violating the league's policy against substances of abuse. The former Raiders first-round pick has retired from the NFL on two separate occasions and sat out the 2013 season, but started 13 games for Dallas last year at inside linebacker.

McClain's case is complicated because he was already facing suspension for a third drug test failure. He then failed a fourth test and was suspended four games. In other words, another suspension over that third failure could still come down the line.

And moving from weed to PEDs, Antonio Gates has been suspended for four games. Gates took full responsibility in a released statement, saying that he didn't do his due diligence in researching the substances he used to come back from injury last year, but that ignorance is no excuse.

So, is the Ladarius Green early-season breakout finally here?

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 02 Jul 2015

15 comments, Last at 09 Dec 2015, 11:50pm by fest201620

Comments

2
by Cro-Mags :: Thu, 07/02/2015 - 9:46pm

Hey, it's the pre-holiday weekend news dump!

They've sure got their PED PR straight, that NFL. Not like baseball, what a mess. Slide right by like a ship in the night, by the time Monday rolls around, Colin Cowherd will be on to women's soccer.

Now, if they could just figure out how to handle these pesky domestic violence nuisances the same.

At least we've got more important things to focus on like Tom Brady's balls. If one more player beats his girlfriend up, we're going to have to find a new scandal, I don't know, maybe Roethlisberger's shoelaces are too long or Philip River's mouthpiece is flavored.

Integrity!

6
by MJK :: Sun, 07/05/2015 - 2:24pm

This. Yes.

But your new scandal has to involve the Patriots, since they're easy to turn into villains. Trumped up scandals only work if you can find a good villain to pin them on.

3
by Theo :: Fri, 07/03/2015 - 1:03pm

"policy and program for substances of abuse."
eh...
policy and program for substances abuse
or
policy and program for abuse of substances

5
by The Ancient Mariner :: Fri, 07/03/2015 - 11:47pm

No, that's carefully chosen: substances of abuse vs. substances of competitive advantage.

4
by BDC :: Fri, 07/03/2015 - 1:49pm

"I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them...."
-Antonio Gates.

To be clear, I don't care what substances these guys take. As well, I don't care what excuses they give when caught taking banned substances. With that said, those are NOT the words of a person who is "taking full responsibility" for his actions.

7
by CM :: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 4:06pm

Just for curiosity, if what he said actually happened, what would those words be? I mean, he is admitting he took the substances, and he is planning to serve the suspension (I think).

8
by tuluse :: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 4:57pm

Full responsibility would obviously be making your own chemistry lab and only ingesting drugs you make yourself.

10
by BDC :: Tue, 07/07/2015 - 1:44pm

"Just for curiosity, if what he said actually happened, what would those words be? I mean, he is admitting he took the substances, and he is planning to serve the suspension (I think)."

I'm not sure really. Perhaps simply stating the undisputed facts such as he used a banned substance and is sorry, but without the unverifiable (and fairly dubious) part where he claims it was an accident.

Even ignoring the fact that it's a rather unbelievable claim, offering up mitigating excuses is pretty much the exact opposite of accepting full responsibility.

11
by CM :: Tue, 07/07/2015 - 6:39pm

"...offering up mitigating excuses is pretty much the exact opposite of accepting full responsibility."

I agree, and I do admit that it's a rather lame excuse. However, I admire that he is willing to blame himself, at least partially, and presumably accept his suspension without appeal (we'll see for sure, though).

9
by LionInAZ :: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 6:25pm

"This settlement by the corporation does not imply an admission of wrongdoing."

"My recent conduct has reflected badly on my position as an elected official. I have entered into a clinic to deal with my [generic addiction]."

"Red-light cameras are just a way for cities to take money from honest people."

"It's not fair for them to put a speed trap at the bottom of that hill!" (My brother-in-law's excuse for getting tickets.)

Taking "full responsibility" is one of the great American myths.

12
by CM :: Tue, 07/07/2015 - 6:45pm

I recently watched Empire Strikes Back again with my daughter. Your comment reminds of the scene where an imperial leader says to his colleague that he will "take full responsibility and apologize to Lord Vader" for losing the Millenium Falcon. A few scenes later, he falls, clutching his throat, as Vader says, "Apology accepted".

13
by collapsing pocket :: Wed, 07/08/2015 - 11:07am

No, but these are:

"As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions."

Not sure what else you want from the guy. Maybe read his whole statement instead of clipping out the part that gives you a reason to feel cheaply sanctimonious?

14
by Mugsy :: Wed, 07/08/2015 - 12:58pm

Sheldon hates when he aint got no weed,
it's usually bout the time that he really needs
to get high, stoned, you know -get blasted,
he be sayin' that high it really lasted,
running around -tryin not to get killed,
by a dolphin, a patriot... or a buffalo bill

If the way he plays is any indication, the Jets need to get every player to start smoking herb immediately. I'm looking at you Geno. . . load one up!