In a Wednesday morning interview on Sirius NFL Radio, Saints coach Sean Payton expressed optimism regarding the chances of running back Deuce McAllister, defensive end Will Smith, and defensive end Charles Grant successfully appealing the four-game suspensions that were imposed upon them for violation of the policy regarding anabolic steroids and related substances.
“I think there are some specific details that possibly can help these guys that will be interesting to see when it all sorts out,” Payton told hosts Peter King and Randy Cross.  “And we’re hopeful, certainly, that again all the facts are out and I think they will have a chance to obviously be heard and we’re optimistic about it.”
Asked by King whether this means that Payton doesn’t think the league’s case against the three players is a slam dunk, Payton said, “No.  No, I don’t.  And that’s not just wishful thinking.  Certainly, it is in our best interest not to have them lost for four games but there are some other things involved here and I’ll just leave it at that.  I’m, again, anxious to hear when it all sorts out how and what we’re looking at.”
The league’s past approach to banned substances is that a player is responsible for the substances in his body, regardless of how they got in there.  So, on the surface, it appears that the players have no hope.
The players’ specific legal strategy is still unknown.  A reader recently told us that Phil Simms of CBS mentioned during Sunday’s Chargers-Saints game that McAllister obtained clearance from the league to take StarCaps, which as it turns out contains Bumetanide. 
The problem with allowing players to advance such arguments is that the “my supplement was spiked” defense will get used in plenty of cases, and that’s why the league has created a list of approved supplements.  (And a hotline.  To nowhere.)
As one league source explained it to us, the fact that Saints guard Jamar Nesbit accepted his suspension without an appeal could, as a practical matter, make it harder for the other players to prevail.  For that reason, Nesbit and his representatives are being criticized for not attempting to appeal his suspension.
“Not many lawyers fold before making a case,” the source said.  “Punting on a legitimate bite at the apple is just bad lawyering.”
The reality is that there are plenty of players with recognizable names who tested positive under the substance abuse policy or the policy regarding steroids and related substances, and who ultimately avoided a suspension via the appeals process.  The names were never revealed because, in those cases, confidentiality was preserved.
In this case, the mere fact that the players have been named will make it harder to secure a reversal, given that the league would have to publicly retreat from the strict-liability perception that has been established via past reported cases.
Other players reportedly facing suspensions include Vikings defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams, and Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jackson.


  1. Reminds me of “Something About Mary” when Ben Stiller is arrested at the rest stop. “Yeah Yeah I was peein’ too.”

  2. as a Saints fan I am obviously biased, but I try to look at it objectively:
    IF (a big IF) it is true that McAllister sent the product in and it was okay back then AND he did not receive any notice from the league at the time this product was banned later, I do think he is not to blame. It is the league’s fault if they told him it is indeed okay to use the product and it is the league’s fault not to tell him that the rules regarding this product changed! So now if McAllister is not guilty, the others can’t be guilty either, because: hey, Deuce sent it in and it’s clean!

  3. I think Payton is probably right. I don’t think Goodell is likely to suspend that many high profile players on one team at one time. I feel the same way about the Vikings. Goodell wants to send a message, but I don’t think he wants to send a message in the form of suspensions that could possibly determine the outcomes of some games.

  4. Apparently he has evidence of what we all expected was going on… of Roger Goodell going down on Jerry Jones. Yeah with that bargaining chip he can be pretty confident they won’t get suspended.

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