NFL says Robert Mathis’ violation was “crystal clear.”
The NFL has suspended Indianapolis Colts pass-rusher Robert Mathis four games for using banned substances. Normally, players don’t go into public detail about such things, but Mathis offered up an explanation for why he took the substance.
(Hadley) Englehard [Mathis’ agent) suggested that the league has misled the public about Mathis’s suspension. That led Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s Senior V.P. of labor policy and government affairs, to appear on Mike & Mike and say that Mathis is suspended for one simple reason: He tested positive for a substance on the NFL’s banned list. Birch added that whether Mathis is telling the truth that he took a banned substance to boost fertility — not to enhance performance — is irrelevant.
“The policy is crystal clear that the player is responsible for what is in his body — that’s by design,” Birch said. “That’s because of the union and the league agreeing that we don’t want to have to make those sorts of decisions.
Another interesting tidbit is that Mathis absolutely crushed his previous single-season sack total, posting 19.5 in 2014 after his previous high was 11.5 – and he’s 33 years-old. So, it is possible that the substance did enhance his performance, regardless of the reason he took it. The NFL sounds intent on upholding Mathis’ suspension, because at the end of the day a policy was violated.