Texans LB Brian Cushing was suspended for the first 4 games of the 2010 NFL season after testing positive for a female fertility drug. As said edict was handed down after the Associated Press named Cushing their 2009 Defensive Rookie Of The Year, the AP opted for a re-vote. Trouble is, Cushing was voted the winner on the second occasion as well.
AP voters “had a chance to send a message “ albeit a small and symbolic one “ to future generations of football players by stripping the Houston linebacker of an honor he earned after cheating,” complains the Newark Star-Ledger’s Steve Politi. “Instead they sent another message altogether: Nobody cares about PEDs in professional football.” The Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice, while far from happy with his colleagues (“why are media members voting in the first place?”) weirdly suggests this is somehow due to fan apathy.
Like the voters, you simply don’t care. In fact, you’re tired of people standing on their soap boxes and preaching about the wrongs of cheating.
All you care about is (a) who’ll replace Cushing while he serves a four-game suspension for cheating and (b) how he plays when he returns. If he’s a shell of the player he once was, then you might just get mad. Otherwise, you don’t care.
You care when baseball players cheat. You jump up and down and hold your breath and say you’ll never go to another game. You say cheating ruined baseball.
But the NFL gets a free pass. Maybe it’s because you’re never allowed to know NFL players. Their access to fans and media is tightly controlled. They wear helmets. And the NFL is so violent, so filled with broken bones and torn ligaments and spinal injuries and concussions, that you’ve become de-sensitized to the ethics of cheating.
So Cushing won an endorsement of his cheating on Wednesday. With that vote, a message went forth to every NFL player: do what you have to do because those of us in the media simply don’t care.
OK, now I’m confused. Justice insists the media doesn’t care, but a cursory google search with the words “Cushing”, and “re-vote” unveils no shortage of outrage over today’s result, including Justice’s entry. As far as fans holding the NFL to a lesser standard than Major League Baseball, what genuine boycott ever took place in the wake of MLB’s numerous PED revelations? It took a global economic crisis to halt MLB’s unprecedented run of commercial success ; new cathedrals to capitalism were built in the Bronx, Queens, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Minneapolis just to name a few cities where The Steroid Era failed to kill public interest in baseball.