While we’re waiting for literally any hot stove news of note, a detour into football.
A few weeks ago, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman played a key part in advancing New England through the NFL playoffs, finishing with nine receptions for 151 yards in the Patriots’ divisional-round win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Last night, in the Super Bowl, he made 10 catches for 141 yards in the Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams. After the game he was named Super Bowl MVP. He’ll be at Disney World today in the little post-Super Bowl parade they still do for some reason.
It is fairly obvious that, were it not for Edelman, the Patriots would not have hoisted their sixth Lombardi trophy last night. It’s also the case, that, were he a baseball player, he would not be on the field for the postseason because baseball, unlike football, makes any player who tests positive for performance enhancing drugs ineligible for the postseason.
Edelman, football fans know, missed the first four games of the 2018 regular season due to a suspension for violating the league’s drug policy. We don’t know what drug it was, but he was coming off of a torn ACL injury that cost him the 2017 season, so one might speculate. As far as football was concerned, he did the crime and he did the time and the matter was closed months ago. If they took baseball’s approach, Tom Brady would’ve been throwing to someone else.
As you guys know, I really don’t give a rip about football so I don’t care what this meant for the Patriots, the Rams or whoever. But as you guys also know, I push back pretty hard when I feel like anti-PED efforts which, in the abstract are fine, go past the point of reasonable and turn into a morality-based thing, in which league officials seem more interested in shaming the user as opposed to merely policing use, so this has me thinking this morning. And I’m genuinely not sure what to think.
While you all might consider me a big PED apologist, I can see the pros and cons of baseball’s postseason rule for PED users. Actually, it’s probably a fairly strong deterrent as far as deterrents go, because it puts players in a position where they can be said to have betrayed their teammates — making them abandon their comrades when they’re most needed — and that’s something athletes REALLY don’t want to do. At the same time, I’m a bit wary of anything that punishes the teammates as opposed to just the user. Based on what we’ve learned about the dynamics of PED use over the past couple of decades it’s not like a players’ teammates are in any position to stop one of their own from using, and thus depriving them of a key part of their team for the season’s most important games seems unfair to them. I sometimes wonder if a better way to handle it might be simply making the player eligible but making them forfeit all postseason bonuses/paychecks or something.
So, in lieu of baseball news, I throw it open to y’all: what do you think of the postseason rules of the NFL vs. that of MLB? And please, try not to make your answer be about how much you hate the Patriots. We all know everyone outside of New England hates the Patriots. Let’s try to be objective.