But when you know you’ve failed both those tests, when you know the league is monitoring you as one of those 11 dopes, when you know a third failure could result in a one-year suspension from the league, and you still fail another test in the regular season for recreational drugs, that is a character exam.
Did Trent Williams and Fred Davis flunk all three tests? According to reports in various media, including the Post’s sources, second-year tackle Williams, 23, and fourth-year tight end Davis, 25, will be suspended for the last four games of the Redskins’ season for what appears to be exactly that sequence of drug-testing disasters, likely for using marijuana.
Out of roughly 2,000 players, after the union and the league finished months of who-got-caught-how-many-times-and-when negotiations, only two players received any discipline at all. And they are both Redskins — with major quarter-of-a-season suspensions. That’s quite a distinction. Imagine how much worse than everybody else you have to be to get that booby prize.
Don’t pass this off with, “Which is Cheech and which is Chong?” Don’t stop your analysis at “that’s why they call it dope.” Don’t say, after a 34-19 loss to the Jets with the Redskins now at 4-8: “Who cares? Lost season.”
Perhaps there are franchises and coaches that are in strong enough shape to withstand such irresponsible and selfish behavior from a pair of their best young players. But the Redskins under Coach Mike Shanahan, in the 12th year of the Daniel Snyder era, are not such a team. This was a year to rebuild, to assemble a responsible locker room, to show modest progress on the field but with greatly increased accountability and lessened drama off it.
So, if all accounts are true, a tackle making $7.852 million this year and a tight end on pace for a 1,000-yard season in his contract year were using recreational drugs in a season when they knew they’d already been nailed twice. What is it about “against the law” and “against league rules” and “violation of duty to employer and teammates” that they don’t understand?
This was the kind of team-character body blow and lack-of-leadership stumble that the Redskins did not need. Clearly, two of the Redskins’ most important young players are not listening to the message.
It can be overcome, eventually. But the Redskins had enough to overcome already. Only five teams in the NFL have a worse winning percentage over the last 20 years. And Shanahan, who picked Williams as his first draft pick in his first year as coach, has won just one playoff game since ’99. If you’re 1,000 miles from D.C., “Redskins” is just a laugh line. Now this.
“We have player reps that inform us of things. People make mistakes . . . [But] I don’t know the details,” defensive tackle Barry Cofield said. “We’ve got too much on our plate to think about other things, or it will slow us down.”