We have a category here at LBS called “Policing the Media” which is invoked when we’re getting on the media for being out of line. This is the ultimate case where the media must be called out for its pathetic actions. On Friday, it was revealed that Texans linebacker Brian Cushing would be suspended four games of the upcoming season for violating the league’s drug policy. After the weekend we found out that the positive test occurred in a random test during the 2009 season. Based on this new information, the Associated Press decided to re-vote on the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award that went to Cushing. They voted again on Wednesday and Cushing still won the award. I am dumbfounded and horrified that we have people so incapable of making reasonable decisions based on new information. Here was the reasoning behind two of the 18 voters who still put Cushing first on their list:
“If I had known in January when we initially voted that Brian Cushing had tested positive for a banned substance, I might not have voted for him,” said Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and president of the Pro Football Writers of America. “However, Cushing won the award in January, and I don’t feel like we should revise history. I am concerned about the precedent.”
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle voted for Cushing the first time and had “no problem” voting for him again.
“In good conscience, I couldn’t not vote for him after voting for Julius Peppers in 2002 knowing he’d tested positive (and won the same award), and for Kevin Williams on the All-Pro team knowing he’d tested positive (in the StarCaps case).
“I also believe taking the award from Cushing would have opened up a Pandora’s box when it came to players and awards. I think the AP should make it a rule that a player who tests positive is going to be subjected to a revote.”
What disturbs me is the reluctance and hesitancy of people to set new “precedents.” What’s the precedent being set here, reprimanding cheaters? That’s about what people are worried? Even the Players Association Director had harsh words regarding Cushing: “Players who break those rules cheat the game, cheat the fans and cheat themselves. The Players want a clean game as well as a clean process for enforcing those rules.” With the new information available that Brian Cushing cheated during the season, how in good conscience can you still give him the honor of being labeled the top defensive rookie in the NFL? By revoting for Cushing, you’re sending the message that cheating the game is acceptable and that you’re willing to reward a cheater. If you want to talk about the issue of revising history, the reason why it’s OK to do that is because every player is subject to drug testing. Cushing failed his test therefore he should be reprimanded and lose the prestige he received for juicing. As for the issue of voting for Julius Peppers several years ago for the same award, just like Peter King said, two wrongs don’t make a right. At least right this wrong when given the opportunity to do so.
Even more mind boggling is that four people switched their initial vote from Jairus Byrd or Brian Orakpo who weren’t even involved in the cheating. Please explain that to me. And also explain the person who switched from Jairus Byrd to Brian Cushing. What on earth was he thinking?
Brian Cushing keeps AP Defensive Rookie award [Sporting News]
Results of NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year revote [Sporting News]
NFLPA issues subtle but strong statement on Brian Cushing suspension [Pro Football Talk]