Houston Texans Brian Cushing. AP Photo.
It's not often that an award handed out five months earlier causes as much commotion as the AP's Rookie of the Year award generated. But Brian Cushing's positive drug test was in many ways an unprecedented case, so much so that the organization decided to conduct a re-vote to see if the panel still felt the Houston linebacker deserve to keep his award.
The decision, and subsequent result of said re-vote, caused quite a stir with most people believing the panel dropped the ball in allowing Cushing to keep his hardware. Andy and Paul take a look at the issue from opposite sides in this week's "Debate Friday."
Should Brian Cushing have kept his Defensive Rookie of the Year award through a re-vote?
First, I want to state emphatically that I am in no way advocating the use of performance-enhancing drugs. I view them as a form of cheating and I don't condone them in any way.
That said the Associated Press opted to conduct a re-vote after learning that Brian Cushing tested positive for PEDs during the season and he won the award anyway. I have no problem with that.
Cushing tested positive for hCG, which is commonly used after a cycle of steroids. He claims he never took the substance, which in all honestly, I do not believe. But let's say for argument's sake (my favorite pastime) he's telling the truth and the test was a mistake. What do we do then? Hold another vote to include him this time? Make the original vote stand up?
What if Jairus Byrd won the re-vote, and then we learned he was on HGH (which is not tested for) throughout the 2009 season? Time for vote No. 3?
If Cushing failed a test before the season, why didn't the NFL make this known to the writers before the vote that took place four months later? If a positive test was such a big deal, again, why the feet-dragging on the part of the league? Cushing should have been ineligible for the award, but that would have meant the league had a problem with it.
PEDs are a problem in professional sports and until leagues like the NFL get serious about eliminating them I don't see the point in stripping awards. While I don't agree with the AP panel's assertion that the re-vote somehow represented a travesty and the Cushing votes were some kind of a protest against the decision, I can see how an individual may not have been willing to change his vote.
There are just too many unknown variables here for me to make me comfortable with stripping Cushing of the award. Unless I knew for sure that every player was clean, I'm voting for anyone who is eligible.
]()I must be missing something, because it simply seems so utterly obvious to me that Cushing should not have been allowed to retain his fraudulent award.
Cushing failed an NFL drug test prior to his rookie season, one in which he was awarded rookie of the year honors. Had that information come about before or during the season, I don't think there is any chance that Cushing would have won the award.
Let's repeat: He cheated. Before the season. The NFL knew it. He knew it. And yet he was rewarded for his play during the season. What's wrong with this world?
I know people like to throw the old slippery slope argument out there, but it doesn't hold water. (How could a slippery slope hold water?). This isn't about setting a bad precedent and going back and changing history. He failed the test before the season in question. That's a fact. Just because we didn't find out about it until later doesn't mean it didn't happen.
If you can prove to me that a binding failed drug test (not supposedly anonymous testing for research purposes like the ones that got A-Rod and other MLB stars in hot water with the fans) exists for any player in any league, I think he can be penalized for failing that test. Even if the punishments appears to be retroactive.
When mistakes happen, you fix them if you can. The Associated Press voters had that opportunity and failed. Cushing has every right to serve his suspension and return to his NFL career. I certainly don't think he's the only guy using something illegal in the NFL. He's not the first to be caught, nor the last. But what he taught the world was that if you appeal the test and drag it out long enough, you can put off your punishment for a full season and reap the full rewards from a season in which you cheated and the NFL knew it. That's a problem.
Cheaters never win and winners never cheat. Unless they're rookies in the NFL.
So you've read the debate and now it's the fans turn cast their vote. Do you think Brian Cushing should have kept his Defensive Rookie of the Year award through a re-vote? Vote Now!