James Harrison, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and Mike Neal have quite a dilemma on their hands. They’ve been accused by Al Jazeera of using performance-enhancing drugs. There’s no proof that they used PEDs; only allegations.
The NFL, however, doesn’t seem to care. The aforementioned players can either answer the league’s questions on or before Aug. 25, or they can be suspended on Aug. 26.
In other words, acquiesce to what many deem an unjust investigation, or stand firm and stonewall Roger Goodell.
“It’s a tough situation, but it’s bigger than just this situation,” NFL Network analyst Michael Robinson told Damon Amendolara, who was filling in as host of CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “You’re talking about rights. You’re talking about rights of all Americans in the work place. You can’t just threaten suspensions and all of those things when somebody just says something about you.”
As Harrison explained Tuesday, someone could call him a pedophile, but that doesn’t make it true, nor does it mean Harrison should be required to answer questions about it.
“I think he has a point,” Robinson said. “I think the NFL needs to look at where these reports come from and the credibility of their organization and the fact that a lot of statements were recanted. It’s almost, to me, a lot to do about nothing.”
DA, for one, doesn’t understand why the NFL is even pursuing this.
“Man, you’re going down a whole different path,” Robinson said, chuckling. “I think the NFL right now is being a little bit reactionary. That’s kind of an issue with this league right now. The fact that there’s a lot of public interest in it, it seems like that’s what’s driving the inquiries, what’s driving the investigation instead of stone cold hard facts. I saw George Atallah with the NFLPA earlier today (saying) there’s no evidence. If there’s no evidence, why are we going through the whole process? Because it’s such a public opinion piece. I think we need to stop being reactionary and do our business and do it well.”
Is it possible that Goodell’s tough stance on this matter is a response to Deflategate? After all, if he’s going to come down hard on Tom Brady and the Patriots, doesn’t he have to come down hard on everyone?
“If you look at it from that scope, it’s reactionary,” Robinson said. “It’s having public opinion drive the decisions of the National Football League – and if that is the case, that’s not right. You run your business, you have an organization, we have a structure and people respect it if you maintain consistency and stay consistent in your message. I think to kind of have this investigation as a get-back for Deflategate – if that is the case – it’s disgraceful.”
Robinson, a former Penn State standout, played eight NFL seasons and won a Super Bowl with Seattle before retiring after the 2013 season. A former Pro Bowler, he believes the NFLPA has a legitimate chance of thwarting Goodell’s latest attempt at being judge, jury and executioner.
“I think so,” Robinson said. “If you go back to 2011 when we did the CBA deal, that was one of the big hold-ups. Guys wanted to get back to work. Well, guys wanted to get back to work so bad that you had to give up something. I remember the PA telling us, ‘Look, at some point, this may come back to bite you, giving Roger all of this authority.’ That’s what happened, but it ended the work stoppage. Just talking about this particle matter, it’s still unjust to question these guys when there’s no basis for the investigation. There’s no proof that these guys did anything wrong.”