Should the AP have rescinded its rookie defensive player of the year award to Brian Cushing after he tested positive for steroids, rather than have held a recount?

May 13, 2010

Slaps on wrist fail

Ken Murray

Baltimore Sun

The AP should have taken the defensive rookie of the year award away from Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing. The organization should not have had a recount, but if I were voting, I would have left him off the ballot entirely.

In the short run, Cushing loses salary, some bonus money and image. But in the long run it won't matter much. Two other defensive rookies of the year, Shawne Merriman and Julius Peppers, also failed steroids tests in the NFL, and both pass rushers are being paid very lucratively. Cushing will survive.

So how do we discourage performance enhancing drugs in the NFL and steroids in particular? If the physical threat of health issues down the road isn't enough, what will work?

Here's my suggestion: Suspend the player for more than four games. Make him sit eight games, or better yet, a full season. Punish the team as well as the player, and see how motivated the team is to clean up this mess. Slaps on the wrist are meaningless.

kmurray@tribune.com

It's simple: No awards

Sam Farmer

Los Angeles Times

If a player is caught using performance-enhancing drugs, he should be stripped of his awards. Simple as that.

Catching cheaters is difficult enough for the NFL with the constant advancements in masking agents and the league's inability to blood test for HGH. When someone is nabbed, the league needs to take full advantage and send a clear message to others who are doing — or contemplating — the same thing.

Not only should that player lose his awards from the season in question, but he should be banned for two more seasons from postseason awards and the Pro Bowl. History has shown, though, that most of those players experience a sharp dropoff in productivity once they're forced to do things the natural way, so maybe the Pro Bowl isn't an issue.

sfarmer@tribune.com

+++

Ethan J. Skolnick

Sun Sentinel

Fans and media observers have shown little outrage toward performance-enhancing policy violators in football as compared with those in baseball. And so it was no surprise that Brian Cushing won a revote Wednesday and got to retain his NFL defensive rookie of the year award.

Should he have? Of course not.

And the only thing that makes less sense than letting Cushing keep the award is that

he is ineligible for awards, including the Pro Bowl, following the 2010-11 season.

So he can receive a reward for his performance in a season in which he apparently cheated, but he can't receive one for a season in which he might consistently test clean?

Maybe the league office needs performance enhancers.

eskolnick@tribune.com

Silence was deafening

Dan Pompei

Chicago Tribune

If Brian Cushing had come out with a plausible excuse as to why he failed a test for prohibited substances, he could have kept his defensive rookie of the year award as far as I was concerned.

But his silence was deafening, disturbing and damning.

It would have been helpful to everyone if we knew for certain exactly what Cushing took and why, but he obviously had a good reason to keep it a secret. And if we are to assume that Cushing took a prohibited performance enhancer that he didn't buy at the health food store, he was not playing on the same level field that other players were playing on. In fact, he is fortunate he was not suspended during his rookie season — which probably would have prevented him from being given the award in the first place.

dpompei@tribune.com

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