Players who have been suspended by the NFL for use of banned substances very often object to the process. Few have objected as strenuously as Jordan Black.
After the Redskins tackle was suspended four games for the use of performance-enhancing drugs, his linemates strongly protested that this was an unfair punishment and a bureaucratic mistake. Black himself then went on ESPN 980 Tuesday afternoon to further explain.
“First of all, I don’t think my purpose on the show is to confirm or deny whether or not it was Adderall or anything ADD-related,” Black told Doc Walker and Brian Mitchell on Inside the Locker Room. “What I want people to definitely know is that it has nothing to do with steroids. I mean, I guess it has to do with performance-enhancing drugs, because it’s on the list, but it is NOT a steroid. It is a prescription.
“I gave the NFL the prescriptions that I received for it,” he continued. “They’ve known about the diagnosis. They’ve had their own doctors confirm the diagnosis, multiple times. I’ve seen more doctors than you can even imagine about this very case that we are talking about. But in the appeals process, it just doesn’t matter.
“It is a system that, instead of having someone that can take a look at all the information and make a logical decision based on the information that’s there, they instead have an attack-dog attorney who tries to mischaracterize a person and put labels on them like a doper or whatever in order to find the player guilty. I mean, I had no chance from the beginning.”
Mitchell then asked if this has happened to Black in past seasons.
“A very similar situation came up the previous year and it never even had to go to the appeals process,” the lineman said. “They tried to tell me that the reason it didn’t go to the appeals process the previous year is because the lockout kind of confused things. I really don’t understand, exactly. But apparently this year, since there was no lockout, [since] I was retired and working on a short time table, they didn’t extend me the same courtesy that they did the previous year.”
Black said he contacted the league about this issue when he was on an airplane over the summer, shortly after he decided to come out of retirement and play for the Redskins.
“That’s the first thing I did was tell them,” he said. “I wanted to make sure everything was squared away, so this exact situation would not happen.”
Black said the NFLPA is doing the “best they can” to assist him, and that the Redskins and their training staff have been supportive and incredulous about the experience. He also expressed frustration toward Pro Football Talk for an item linking his preseason weight gain with this incident.
And here I have to put in a disclaimer. The PFT item was based on something we published this fall, in which Black said he had lost 55 pounds after retirement and was trying to put back some weight. Our headline suggested he had regained 50 pounds, leading to the PFT item, which Black did not like at all. He even referenced a photo he took this week, showing his current weight.
“Any time you hear the word performance-enhancing drug, there’s a stigma with that. So when people hear that, they automatically assume steroids,” he said on 980. “I played against the Cleveland Browns at 275 pounds, at offensive tackle. Nothing about that scenario says I’m using performance-enhancing drugs. If anything, it shows that I’m clearly playing at a disadvantage…
“I know from my situation, it’s bad on so many levels,” he said. “I mean, it’s not about the money, it’s not about any of that. This is about my reputation, and this is about what my Wikipedia page is going to say for the next 70 years, and this is what my grandchildren are going to be able to read about me. And I don’t ever want them to think that I was a cheater. I am not a cheater, I have never been a cheater, I have only made decisions regarding medications that are in the best interests of me and my health. I take that very seriously. It’s just so incredibly unfortunate that there’s media people out there that are going to put a doping label on me.”
Black clearly does not want this issue to end like this, but he admitted that he doesn’t know what his next step should be.
“It gets real tricky from here,” he said. “According to the CBA, this is basically as far as it can go. I was talking with my PA attorney, and I was like, Okay, so, what if we could bring to light concrete information that 100 percent without a doubt would completely exonerate me? And the response I got was it’s too late. It doesn’t matter.
“And I was like, How on earth does that resemble a justice system? How on earth is that fair? So I don’t know. I’m just now exploring my options, I guess, is what I’ll say. And I don’t know where it’s gonna lead me and I don’t know how this is gonna wind up, but at this point, my primary concern is just to let people know, don’t jump to conclusions, because they have no clue what’s going on. It’s definitely not a performance-enhancing issue.”