Andre Brown Appeals Suspension, Should He Have Been Suspended to Begin With?

By Christopher Gamble

New York Giants running back Andre Brown is appealing his four-game suspension, which was handed down by the NFL back in March for taking a performance-enhancing substance.  We now know that the substance in question is Adderall, a drug commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and narcolepsy.  Brown claims he has been using the drug since he entered the league.  “It was something that I’ve been on since I’ve been in the league, which was Adderall.  I just forgot to fill out some paperwork and that was it.”

If Brown is telling the truth, why would the league suspend a player for taking a drug used to treat a diagnosed disorder, even if paperwork didn’t get filed on time?  This makes no sense.  The drug contains amphetamine salts which can be considered a performance enhancer and they do carry with it a high rate of abuse because the drug is considered a stimulant.

The thing that I don’t understand is, if Andre Brown can prove he is medically prescribed this drug to treat a medical condition he has, why should the NFL suspend him?  Because he missed some paperwork?  That doesn’t seem fair.  If Brown is to be believed and he has been on this drug since he entered the NFL and there is evidence supporting he has filed paperwork in the past I think the NFL should retract the suspension and perhaps fine Brown instead.

Houston Texans punter Brett Hartmann recently had a four-game suspension reduced to three games after appealing his decision.  He was suspended for taking Ritalin without NFL approval.  Is the NFL such a dictatorial organization that it lumps it’s players who committed an oversight in with other players who were caught trying to cheat outright?  In today’s society there is a stigma attached to being suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs.  Society automatically deems you a cheater if you are caught, regardless of the circumstances.  I don’t think that is fair, especially if the player has a medical condition that warrants the medication.  A small fine for failing to submit paperwork would suffice rather than lumping honest players with medical conditions into a heap of players caught knowingly cheating.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should understand that every person makes mistakes, every person forgets things from time to time.  That is no reason to punish a player unfairly, both by sullying his reputation and by costing him a chance at NFL success.

Andre Brown is already facing an uphill battle trying to make the New York Giants.  With a four-game suspension hanging over his head, Brown already is on the outside looking in at the Giants running back battle.  Why should the Giants carry him on the roster if he is going to miss the first four games of the year?  It could very well be that this is Brown’s last shot to make an NFL roster and Roger Goodell might have cost him that chance because Brown forgot to file some papers.  That hardly seems fair.

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