Dec 8, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver LaVon Brazill (15) makes a catch and rushing into the end zone for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

No Double Standard With the Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts haven’t exactly had any good news this offseason.

It started with the arrest of team owner Jim Irsay in March. Then Robert Mathis was suspended for using performance enhancing drugs. And most recently wide receiver LaVon Brazill was suspended for at least a season for another failed drug test.

Brazill was released from the team this week. With that suspension, and now release, there is talk of a double standard in the organization. Bob Kravitz of the Indy Start recently expressed his concern over issue.

The debate, if you can call it that, stems from the team supporting Irsay and hanging Brazill out to dry. How can you welcome one drug addict and shun another?

Actually, its pretty easy.

Part of it stems from the difference between prescription drugs and marijuana. Simply put, prescription drugs are extremely addictive. Not only that, but they are more damaging to a person than habitual marijuana use. Opioid addiction is becoming a serious problem in the US.

These types of drugs produce a level of dependency in the body and result is severe withdrawal symptoms when coming down. This can become so severe that it causes respiratory issues that could result in death. People who are addicted to prescription drugs need serious help and support. They are risking their lives over an addiction.

Marijuana “addiction” largely depends on your definition of addiction. The level of withdrawal symptoms doesn’t include death, which means the body doesn’t become physically addicted. No one has ever died from a marijuana overdose either.

There is also a world of difference between a team owner and a fifth string wide receiver struggling to make the final roster. In case you didn’t know, not all people are equal (despite what the NCAA would like you to believe). There is a different set of standards for everyone.

Irsay has done amazing things for Indianapolis. He is also the team owner and the last time I checked, there wasn’t a protocal for the Colts front office to cut the owner from the team. There is literally nothing the team can do about its owner. That is up to Roger Goodell.

Brazill, on the other hand, simply doesn’t have enough self control to stop smoking pot. This is his third failed drug test. The first is considered a warning, the second a four game suspension (last season for Brazill), and third results in at least a season ban.

It is hard to muster sympathy for some who: A) knew what the consequences of his actions were; B) had been suspended for his actions before; and C)

Irsay has earned the respect of the community. He’s built up good will through his generous nature and by producing a product the city embraces. Brazill hasn’t earned anything. He isn’t a future Hall of Famer and has done nothing to earn the respect of the fans.

Comparing Brazill to Mathis would make a lot more sense, but again the two are not equal. Mathis has earned the benefit of the doubt, at least from Colts fans. Brazill knowingly consumed a substance he knew could get him into trouble and now has to pay for his mistakes (literally as he loses his 2014 salary of $570,000).

There are different standards for both people and the two situations are completely different. Irsay will be punished at some point by the NFL. Brazill has now received his punishment and from a business perspective, there is no point in keeping him around the team.

There is no double standard in Indianapolis, just common sense and business.

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Tags: Indianapolis Colts Jim Irsay LaVon Brazill Robert Mathis

  • Steve Barlow

    Want another reason? To keep Brazill they would need to keep a roster spot open for him ALL YEAR. You can’t put a suspended player on the unable to perform list or injured reserver, they take an open roster spot. They still have to go through training camp and make the team, but why if they can’t play a single down? Roster spots are too valuable. Last year was just 4 games, this is the entire season! The ONLY way you would keep the player on the roster would be in the case of someone like Josh Gordon in Cleveland. To waive him they forfeit their rights. No one is going to pick up Brazil this year for the same reason the Colts cut him, but someone WOULD pick up Gordon. Brazill was in the bubble for making the team anyway, it just made the decision easy.
    Irsay is the team owner, he hasn’t been convicted of anything yet. Even if he were suspended he doesn’t take a roster spot, and you aren’t going to terminate yourself anyway. There are no present rules about drug testing owners, he’ll get some sort of fine and slap on the wrist once he gets convicted of DWI. Failing a drug test has it’s own procedures in the NFL outside of the law. That came down on both Brazil and Mathis.