The mystery regarding Eagles cornerback Joselio Hanson was solved fairly quickly.
He has been suspended four games for violating the league’s policy regarding anabolic steroids and related substances.
“We are disappointed,” lawyer David Cornwell said in a statement. “Joselio accepts his responsibilities as an NFL player. Nonetheless, we suspect that he is a casualty of the looming labor war in the NFL. Here’s hoping that he is the last.”
Cornwell claims that Hanson took “a pill that turned out to be a diuretic” after feeling “bloated” following a Chinese meal, prior to the NFC title game in January 2009. “The urine specimen that Joselio provided after the game tested positive for a diuretic,” Cornwell said. “Joselio did not use steroids or any other substance that would enhance his performance.”
Cornwell explains that Hanson’s internal appeal was delayed as the league and the NFLPA tried to resolve the StarCaps matter, which arose last year after multiple players took an over-the-counter supplement that had been spiked by the manufacturer with a banned diuretic.
Cornwell also claims that the league agreed to defer Hanson’s punishment due the tenuous link between diuretics and steroids.
“This consideration was guided by the near-universal recognition that diuretics are rarely used to mask steroid use,” Cornwell said. “It is noteworthy that the World Anti-Doping Agency recently implemented amendments that eviscerate the misplaced presumption about diuretics embedded in the NFL’s steroid policy and reduce discipline for diuretics to include warnings and, where appropriate, suspension.”
Cornwell also says that, in the wake of the most recent court rulings in the StarCaps case, which rulings have permitted Vikings defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams to challenge their proposed suspensions under Minnesota statutory law — and which have prompted the league not to suspend (for now) Saints defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant — the league and the union began negotiating different rules for diuretics.
“The hearing [in Hanson's case] confirmed that the NFLPA and NFL Management Council have exchanged proposals regarding diuretics, with each party proposing substantial reductions in the discipline to be imposed for the first positive test for diuretics,” Cornwell said. “Under the current competing proposals, no player would be suspended for four (4) games for the first positive test for diuretics.”
Cornwell says the the hearing officer nevertheless rejected a plea to withhold a decision on Hanson’s case until the negotiations are completed. “We also argued that the accommodation allowing the ‘StarCaps players’ to continue playing supported allowing Joselio to continue playing as well,” Cornwell said. “Our appeal to fairness was rejected and Joselio was notified yesterday that he is suspended for four (4) games, effective immediately.”
So that’s why Hanson recently said that the “NFL don’t treat players the same.” He’s referring to the men who took StarCaps.
Still, we’d love to know more about how Hanson ended up taking “a pill that turned out to be a diuretic” in January 2009, where he obtained it, and what he thought the thing actually was. Given the intense publicity that the StarCaps case received in the latter weeks of 2008, Hanson and every other football player should have been damn sure he knew the exact contents of anything that he swallowed with a partially-filled glass of tap water.