Colts’ outside linebacker Robert Mathis has been suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season due to a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Mathis was apparently seeking fertility help and took a substance that falls into the “performance enhancing” category.
Here’s is Mathis’ statement released via twitter:
It is difficult for me to address the circumstances surrounding this suspension because they involve very personal medical information, but it is very important to me that my fans, particularly young people, understand what did and did not occur. Like many families, my wife and I faced fertility challenges, and I sought medical assistance.
I specifically asked the doctor if the medication he prescribed for me would present a problem for NFL drug testing, and unfortunately, he incorrectly told me that it would not. I made the mistake of not calling the NFL or NFLPA to double check before I took the medication at the end of last season.
The union has worked very closely with me to present all of the facts and medical records for consideration of discipline that does not include a suspension because of the unique facts of my case, but the Commissioner refused the request. I am deeply saddened that this situation will prevent me from contributing to my team for four games, and I regret that I didn’t cross check what my doctor told me before I took the medication.
I hope that my fans will understand the unique circumstances involved here and continue to know that I am a man of integrity who would never intentionally circumvent the performance enhancing substance policy agreed to by the NFL and my union. The incredible blessing of this very upsetting situation is that, after I took the medication very briefly at the end of last season, we learned that my wife is expecting a baby.
We are thrilled that we will be welcoming a new member in several months, but I apologize to my teammates, coaches and Colts fans that I will not be able to contribute to my team for the first four weeks of the 2014 season. I will work extremely hard during that time to stay in top football shape and will be prepared to contribute immediately upon my return.
Mathis has already exhausted all avenues of appeal and will have to serve the suspension. During the process, it was reported that his doctor even provided a sworn affidavit that he was taking these drugs for fertility reasons. That doesn’t exactly mean anything as dozens of doctors have testified that a player wasn’t taking a banned substance for PED use.
The substance in question is Clomid, which is an estrogen replicator that is used to induce ovulation in women. It is clearly on the list of banned substances by the NFL. It can be used by men to increase testosterone production and to stimulate sperm production. It can also be used as a performance enhancer for the same reason.
Mathis took the drug last season and stopped in November when his wife became pregnant. She was unable to take medication due to other health issues. Mathis’ mother was diagnosed with cancer recently and he wanted to give her another grandchild. Mathis had twins not too long ago.
Mathis should have consulted the league or just looked at a list of banned substances. Clomid is not approved by the FDA for use in men. It is in testing, but has been banned by a number of agencies for years as a PED.
Here is the problem, I am inclined to believe Mathis simply because I like him and am a fan of the Colts. Do you think Texans or Jaguars fans believe Mathis? Absolutely not. They’ll label him a cheater.
Mathis doesn’t have any history of using PEDs nor has he had any of the injuries that would indicate their use. That could just mean he’s been lucky, but that seems unlikely. If this is an elaborate lie, it is insane and falls into the scumbag category. People generally don’t lie about a sick parent and taking drugs to father a child.
The fact of the matter is that Mathis took a substance that he clearly shouldn’t have taken and didn’t do his due diligence when making sure it was legal. Fans may not like it, and the reasoning behind it makes the NFL look heartless, but by the league policy, Mathis must face a suspension.
From a football perspective, this is devastating the for the Colts. Mathis represented the entirety of the team’s pass rush in 2013. The Colts will face the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles in the first two weeks, the first and fourth rated scoring offenses respectively.
The Colts will have to find a way to manufacture a pass rush against Peyton Manning, which is never easy under good circumstances. Mathis had nearly as many sacks (19.5) as the rest of his team combined (22.5).
With all avenues of appeal exhausted, the Colts will have to move on without the best defensive player for four games, regardless of whether it was right or wrong.