Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis has been suspended for the first four games of the NFL season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances and he has one of the more personal explanations for the positive test.
Mathis said in a statement that he took a drug he erroneously was told was not banned while he and his wife were undergoing fertility treatments. Mathis’s statement:
“It is difficult for me to address the circumstances surrounding this suspension because they involve very personal medical information, but it is very important to me that my fans, particularly young people, understand what did and did not occur. Like many families, my wife and I faced fertility challenges, and I sought medical assistance. I specifically asked the doctor if the medication he prescribed for me would present a problem for NFL drug testing, and unfortunately, he incorrectly told me that it would not. I made the mistake of not calling the NFL or NFLPA to double check before I took the medication at the end of last season. The union has worked very closely with me to present all of the facts and medical records for consideration of discipline that does not include a suspension because of the unique facts of my case, but the Commissioner refused the request.
“I am deeply saddened that this situation will prevent me from contributing to my team for four games, and I regret that I didn’t cross check what my doctor told me before I took the medication. I hope that my fans will understand the unique circumstances involved here and continue to know that I am a man of integrity who would never intentionally circumvent the performance enhancing substance policy agreed to by the NFL and my union. The incredible blessing of this very upsetting situation is that, after I took the medication very briefly at the end of last season, we learned that my wife is expecting a baby. We are thrilled that we will be welcoming a new member in several months, but I apologize to my teammates, coaches and Colts fans that I will not be able to contribute to my team for the first four weeks of the 2014 season. I will work extremely hard during that time to stay in top football shape and will be prepared to contribute immediately upon my return.”
The NFL Players Association was “disappointed” in the decision by Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Given the set of facts that Robert, medical experts and our union presented, upholding this suspension shows a lack of compassion and perspective,” Eric Winston, the NFLPA president, said in a statement. “We support Robert and are happy for him and his family.”
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports that Mathis tested positive for Clomid, which is a banned substance because increases testosterone levels.
It’s a difficult loss for the Colts, who must play the Broncos in Denver in their opener, the Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans without a player who led the league with 19.5 sacks and forced eight fumbles last season.