Wednesday, December 06, 2006

This is why Clinton never inhaled

So the Saints' Hollis Thomas has been suspended for a month. Apparently he had steroid ingredients in his asthma inhaler. I feel bad for whoever had to break this news to him.

As with everything else, I have a couple of questions about this ruling:

1) If his doctor has certified that Hollis suffers from severe asthma--and the claim checks out--wouldn't it occur to the NFL that maybe he didn't take the steroid for performance purposes? I can't imagine the Anthony Anderson of the NFL needs to get any bigger. I'm not saying this to condone illicit drug use or ignorance of the rules; but can't they take these things on a case-by-case basis? This isn't Lyle Alzado we're talking about! Well, better safe than sorry, I suppose. But that leaves the other question:

2) According to reports, Hollis was tested in August. So why are these sanctions coming only now? And why do they last until exactly Jan. 1, 2007? I'm not trying to read between the lines where no lines exist; but it seems fishy that the league is levying this suspension on the eve of the playoff hunt. It's as if the NFL decided that the Saints were getting too uppity and enacted selective suspension. The timing is just too calculated.

I've seen this before. Around 1992, my future high-school football team went undefeated. But going into the final game, the state athletic association (LHSAA) negated the first nine wins because of a supposedly ineligible player. Ever since I first heard about this, I've been leery of late punishments. It seems to me that leagues should be aware of these indiscretions sooner, so that they don't derail the action on a technicality later in the season. Justified or not, these late rulings smack of vindictiveness. And that's not any more of a show of sportsmanship than the illegalities in the first place.

Any thoughts?


ashley said...

Hollis had been appealing the suspension until now. The appeal was denied on Tuesday.

JTekell said...

Actually...1990 was the 10-0 season that was reversed to 0-10. The player who was short credits didn't play in every game, but was on the roster. They reversed everything after the last game was over.

I'm all in favor of conspiracy theories...but I'm not sure I buy this one. However, in support of your theory, this would be something that is intended to help make sure the saints don't make the playoffs; thereby making it easier to move the team. Say hello to your new Los Angeles Diablos. Think about it.

Ian McGibboney said...

Thanks, ashley. Still a screwy process, if you ask me. Why does it take so long?

JT: That theory would make sense if it were Tom Benson's doing. But the NFL has stated repeatedly that they want the Saints in New Orleans. Not that I would rule that out. They'd be idiots to do that after this season, though.

And thanks for the clarification on the LHS affair. My blog name is apt.

But if the LHSAA is going to forfeit a team's entire season due to an ineligible backup, then they should have also forfeit the 1996 season of a certain district rival who spied on our practices and took one of our stars to practice on their team. Consistency, guys!

Nick said...

I remember the UL trainers giving us all a huge list of drugs that were banned by the NCAA. You would think a million dollar player like Thomas would know exactly what he is taking and whether or not it is approved by the NFL. Hell, these guys pay people to study those things for them.

A professional athlete, if he/she is smart, wouldn't take a sip of bottle water before knowing exactly what's in it.

I feel bad for the Saints. It sucks. I don't feel bad for Thomas, though, unless his doctor/trainer just flat out lied to him.

Anonymous said...

I thought that asthma was treated with steroids no matter what other combination of drugs used. Of course this would probably be a corticosteroid. Did they test the inhaler and find it didn't jive with the prescription? I wouldn't automatically assume they meant anabolic steroids when mentioned with asthma.

I don't think the average person would know exactly what was in an inhaler, even by reading the insert where they give you the chemical structure and name of compounds.

jeffrey said...

Thomas was guilty of taking clenbuterol which is used by athletes seeking to build lean muscle mass while they LOSE weight.

The Saints' team doctor.. shamefully, in my opinion.. attempted to cover for him by writing a letter to the NFL that described Thomas's asthma medication, admitted that the substance he tested positive for isn't in that medication, and then proceeded to (kind of) insinuate without really saying that (maybe) the asthma medicine could have "plausibly" caused a false positive test. It was a pretty slimy exhibition of dissembling.