As Sean Foreman noted yesterday, 20 — 20! — NFL players are beginning the season under a drug suspension of some kind. You have to count back through four years to get to 20 major leaguers suspended for drugs. If you set aside the Biogenesis guys who were all busted without testing, you have to go back to 2007 to amount to the number of just the currently-suspended football players.
And heck, you can’t even fall back to the old saw about “well, the NFL is catching its users, while baseball is not!” because the NFL doesn’t even have HGH testing. Even the extremists at the WADA grant that baseball has the best testing among North American pro sports leagues these days, so that’s not it.
Then there’s the media response. The latest, in reaction to the Wes Welker suspension:
Tanguay believes PEDs aren’t quite as big of issue in the football world compared to Major League Baseball.
“If we were worried about steroids in the Hall of Fame, the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70’s, no one would get in,” said Tanguay. “It’s football, it’s physical. Guys break down, you got to be big, you got to be strong. If you’re 275 [pounds] you have to weigh 350. PEDs are accepted in the game.”
I’ll never not be shocked at the double standard between the NFL and Major League Baseball in the media when it comes to PEDs. PEDs are no big deal — just a part of the game! — in a league where size, speed and physical strength is such that physical impacts are literally destroying the health of its players, causing brain injuries that, in some cases, have led to suicide. In baseball, some arbitrary statistical records were broken and it’s a national crisis.