Seattle Seahawks PED suspensions: Seriously, why don't we care more?

Take a moment to imagine the dismay if the best team in Major League Baseball, say, the St. Louis Cardinals, had a disproportionate number of suspensions for violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. The reactions would range from impassioned to histrionic. Defenders of the integrity of the game would charge to the fore, dismayed that the results from that season had been tainted. Writers would congratulate themselves for the noble stance of their takes on the situation, promoting their columns like this:

(Team) is a disgrace, and they have forever tainted the results of this season. An asterisk might not be enough…My column.

The National Football League is exponentially more popular than Major League Baseball or any of the other major sports. How is it, then, that a prominent team, a Super Bowl favorite, can have significantly more players than the rest of the league get cracked for violating the substance abuse policy and it is only a 24 hour story (if that)? You would think the dismay over this issue would be more pronounced. You would think the yelling about this situation would only get louder because of the popularity of the sport.

Why is it the opposite?

In the last three years, the Seattle Seahawks have had seven players suspended for PED violations. The most recent guy to fall was Brandon Browner, who will be suspended for a year and is probably done with the Seahawks. The list of players before him who have tested positive includes noteworthy names: Richard Sherman (overturned on appeal), Walter Thurmond, and Bruce Irvin.

Leading up to Monday night’s high profile showdown between the Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints, Terry Blount of wrote the following about the potential negative impact of the most recent PED stories:

That’s the true sadness of all this news. We should be talking about the only 10-1 team in the NFL and how this can be a season to remember for Seattle and its fans.

That won’t happen, at least not this week. This has become the elephant in the room that the Seahawks can’t control.


The Seahawks proceeded to absolutely stomp out the Saints on national television, with their juiced-up defense on full display. So, was Blount right? Did the “elephant in the room” ruin the excitement about the Seahawks and their fans? Are people starting to discredit the Seahawks and perhaps even question the legitimacy of their success? Did this prevent the football world from enjoying a Seattle victory?

Here are some tidbits of reactions the morning after Seattle’s victory:

And then there is Mike Freeman’s article about the game on Bleacher Report:

This wasn’t so much a game as it was a multi-layered coronation, done in the guise of a punch to the face, thrown by a gentleman. Instigated by an angry defense. Egged on by a volatile crowd.

These are the Seattle Seahawks, officially your NFC favorite to reach the Super Bowl. Sorry San Francisco. Buh bye New Orleans. G’night, Carolina…

…This Seahawks team is wonderfully athletic and formidably powerful. They can knock you out. They can outrun you. If they so choose, they can do both of the above. New Orleans had its largest halftime deficit since 2007 and Drew Brees‘ 74 passing yards through two quarters was his lowest since 2008. This was one of the few times you will ever see Sean Payton out-coached.

I’d say that Seattle’s week of glory remained in tact…

I’m not saying the Seahawks are good because of PEDs; after all, it’s only a handful of players who have been suspended and the details are fuzzy. Still, you have this one team, lauded for its dominance and athleticism on defense, congratulated for their “coronation” on national TV, that also happens to be the only team in the NFL with a trend of failed tests. And yet it is nothing more than a footnote, a nugget that may or may not be worth mentioning on the way to a compliment. I’ll say this again: imagine if a dominant MLB team was also the only team with a trend of positive tests. You can smell the hysteria just thinking about it.

I know football is different because of its “warrior culture,” the way we celebrate the violence of the sport, blah blah blah. I know that this so-called “culture” has been the starting point for the rationalization of PEDs for years. I know all of that, and I still think this question is worth posing: why is it that one team, arguably the best team in the NFL, can continue to follow a different set of rules than the rest of the league and we don’t care?

Why isn’t this a bigger deal?

Tags: NFL Seattle Seahawks

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