If you haven’t heard by now, the star of the Indianapolis Colts defense, Robert Mathis, has been suspended under the NFL‘s drug policy. Mathis is being suspended for using a fertility drug called Clomid, whose main purpose is to increase testosterone levels in males and start up the natural testosterone cycle. The reason Mathis gave for using this drug is that he and his wife were struggling to have children and this drug is known to help infertility in males and females. The only problem with this whole scenario is that the NFL bans the drug because it can be used as a masking agent and because the drug can increase testosterone levels in a player that can help elevate performance.
Most people believe that the NFL came down too hard on Mathis and that his reasons for taking the drug were legitimate. However, the NFL did the right thing in suspending Mathis for the first four games of the season. Mathis admitted in a statement that he did not consult the team doctor or the National Football League Players Associations when he took the drug. Even if Mathis didn’t consult with the team doctor, a simple Google search can show that the drug is on the banned substance list. The fact of the matter is all players are responsible for what they put into their body. For that the league should suspend Mathis. It is part of a player’s job to know what is going into their body, and the fact that Mathis didn’t consult with anyone about the situation doesn’t help his case.
Now comes the question about whether Mathis is lying or not. Mathis is one of the best and most well liked players in the NFL, and it is human nature to trust people we like. But there are too many questions within the story for me to believe without any doubt that Mathis is telling the truth. Now I don’t know Mathis personally and I am looking at this from an outsider point of view, but something doesn’t add up.
I understand that this is a very personal issue for Mathis, and it would be for anyone; I am glad that he and his wife are expecting soon. But why didn’t Mathis talk to his NFLPA representatives about the issue before he took the drug? The locker room is where bonds between players are formed, and if he was willing to share with the world his reason for taking the drug, how hard would it have been to talk to Adam Vinatieri or Antoine Bethea about whether the drug is on the banned substance list? Now because of this positive test his reputation as a clean player comes into question coming off a career year.
Also this isn’t the first time a player has been suspended for using the drug. Manny Ramirez was suspended in 2009 for taking a similar drug that had the same effects as Clomid. Another question that came up is that Mathis is coming off a career year at the age of 31. Mathis was able to tally 19.5 sacks to lead the NFL and this was without his other defensive star Dwight Freeney. To most people 31 isn’t old, but in the NFL that means you’re getting up there in age. Having a career year that late in your career will cause questions to be asked and a positive drug test doesn’t help.
The fact is that Mathis is one of the most well liked players in the NFL and people don’t tend to question those that they like. His reasons seem totally plausible and he doesn’t have a history of lying or off the field altercations. But there are too many questions to make this an open and shut case. It is not everyday where a player has a career year like this. I want to believe Mathis without doubts, but there are too many holes within his story that prevent me from doing so.