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Cornwell issues statement on behalf of Antwan Odom

Earlier today, reports emerged that the NFL has suspended Bengals defensive end Antwan Odom four games for violating the league’s steroids policy. 

Odom’s attorney, David Cornwell, has issued a statement explaining the situation.  Here it is:

“The decision to suspend Antwan Odom for four games highlights the need for the NFL and the NFLPA to fix the NFL’s disciplinary programs.

“Antwan did not take a steroid or any other performance enhancing substance.  While driving after midnight from Alabama to Cincinnati to report to training camp, Antwan’s wife mistakenly opened her prescription pill bottle instead of Antwan’s and gave him one of her prescription weight loss pills instead of Antwan’s medicine.  Naturally, Antwan’s preseason urine test was positive for his wife’s medicine.

“The NFL did not dispute the facts in this case and accepted the Cincinnati Bengals’ weight records showing that Antwan’s target reporting weight was 275 lbs. and that he actually reported at 255 lbs., confirming that Antwan had no reason to take a weight loss medicine.  The steroid program’s administrator, Dr. John Lombardo, testified that no competitive advantage was gained by this mistake and that no physical difference would be apparent to Antwan from taking his wife’s medicine as opposed to his own.  Harold Henderson, the hearing officer designated by Commissioner Goodell to hear Antwan’s appeal, found [credible and convincing evidence that Mr. Odom inadvertently took medicine prescribed for his wife.’  Yet, Mr. Henderson concluded that as ‘sympathetic as this case may be’ and though a four game suspension may be ‘unfairly harsh,’ he lacked the authority to alter the discipline.

“While the NFL and the NFLPA maneuver for upcoming collective bargaining negotiations, Antwan’s case is a stark reminder that the issues they will consider impact men’s lives.  The strict liability rule in the steroid program enabled the NFL’s lawyers to argue that the facts did not matter in Antwan’s case.  Tell that to Antwan and his wife, Brooke, the Bengals and their fans, and to any fair-minded person who recognizes that as legitimate as the objectives of the NFL’s steroid program may be, none of these objectives is served by Antwan’s suspension.”

And here’s our statement in response to Cornwell’s explanation:  It doesn’t matter.

Though Odom may be telling the complete truth, anyone who takes a banned substance can cook up a similar story and trot it out whenever the drug test comes back positive.  Indeed, there’s something about this explanation that seems a little too convenient and contrived.  Pill mixup while driving a car?  And who takes pills while driving a car?

Players have an absolute obligation to police every substance they ingest.  If a player is going to transport medication in a glove box or purse or bag that contains another medication that isn’t his, he needs to know whether the other medication constitutes a banned substance — and if it is he needs to make sure his wife doesn’t accidentally hand him the wrong pill while he’s working the wheel.

As to why Odom would be taking a weight-loss drug when he’s 20 pounds under his target weight, diuretics are often used to mask steroid use. 

The other problem here is that the NFL, due to the current language of the drug policies, can say nothing in response to the explanation.  The player or his lawyer can say whatever the player or the lawyer want to say, and the NFL and the NFLPA can provide no contrary evidence.

As a result, the public continues to be under the impression that every guy who ever has tested positive for a banned substance either accidentally took the banned substance, ingested a supplement tainted with the banned substance, or is suffering from some exotic medical condition that caused evidence of the banned substance to organically appear in his body.  The other logical impression is that the policy never has successfully ensnared a cheater.

So, yes, the policy needs to change.  And the first revision need to be the abandonment of blanket confidentiality.  Once the suspension is final, the NFL should publish all of the relevant facts supporting the suspension.

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47 Responses to “Cornwell issues statement on behalf of Antwan Odom”
  1. NFLJunkie says: Oct 15, 2010 1:46 PM


    Indeed, there’s something about this explanation that seems a little too convenient and contrived. Pill mixup while driving a car? And who takes pills while driving a car?

    What’s the big deal about doubting how someone might take something (without specifying the nature of the medication) in the car? You’ve never gotten a headache or something while driving?
    Certainly not your conventional story in a case like this, which actually makes me more likely to believe it.
    I have no problem with Odom getting suspended even for a potentially honest mistake. That’s how this NFL policy works. But you found the explanation “too convenient”? Really?

  2. Pockets Straight says: Oct 15, 2010 1:48 PM

    I am sure congress will agree that your desire for more transparency into the NFL substance abuse policy is more important than HIPA, and we should just eliminate it.
    The change that needs to occur is that:
    1) Special Masters should have the right to review specific facts associated with the appeal without regard to the initial event.
    2) Players should be allowed the right to open the case to the public. Additionally, public comments on the merit of the decision should be seen as an expressed agreement by the player to open teh case to the public.
    If Odom wants to make this statement, and has the right to open the case, then reporters can say, “Ok, so open the case and we will make our own opinions.” Otherwise the player should not be able to comment on the suspension

  3. OneResult says: Oct 15, 2010 1:53 PM

    This is going to come off as a blatant pitch, because it is, but these types of events will continue happening until the NFL takes a real stand against PED’s and banned substances, and NFL players make the conscious decision to only take legal supplements/medications that won’t jeopardize their eligibility. We at OneResult.com only sell NCAA supplements so that athletes no longer have to wonder whether there are banned substances in the products they’re taking. Having safer retail alternatives will help to eliminate “false positives,” and suspensions like those of Cushing, Odom, and even guys like Rashard Lewis. But it also requires a real commitment from the league and the player’s association.

  4. twabby says: Oct 15, 2010 1:55 PM

    “Indeed, there’s something about this explanation that seems a little too convenient and contrived. Pill mixup while driving a car? And who takes pills while driving a car?”
    It isn’t rocket science you over-inflated gasbag. It doesn’t require your undivided attention to take a pill, so it’s completely plausible he took it while driving.

  5. protectthishouse54 says: Oct 15, 2010 1:57 PM

    “the public continues to be under the impression that every guy who ever has tested positive for a banned substance either accidentally took the banned substance, ingested a supplement tainted with the banned substance, or is suffering from some exotic medical condition that caused evidence of the banned substance to organically appear in his body.”
    really? the opposite seems true to me… no one believes those guys.

  6. EasyDrinkingBuschLight says: Oct 15, 2010 2:03 PM

    So you’re expecatation is that the thousands of athletes in the NFL all need to be capabale of omniscience in order to avoid a draconian drug policy? It doesn’t matter how many preventative measures you take, accidents happen. Every time someone gets popped for one of these silly violations you and many other media outlets blast the athlete for being careless and reckless. In reality it was an accident because of something many people wouldn’t have foreseen.
    Change the policy to allow for discretion, preferably from a 3rd party arbiter. Why does it seem like common sense has completely disappeared from this world?
    Also, what’s with the “taking pill while driving a car?!?!?” response? What’s so difficult about someone handing you a couple pills and you quick pop them your mouth? Do you have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time too?

  7. Slim Charles says: Oct 15, 2010 2:05 PM

    I have a better solution. Let the players take whatever they want. It’s the same as rule changes.
    Besides, roided up crazy dudes would make the game on the field better. It took steroids to make people care about baseball again during the homerun race, allowing them in the NFL would be freaking sweet. It’s basically the WWE anyway, minus the predetermined outcomes.

  8. qwerty says: Oct 15, 2010 2:05 PM

    Should be illegal to ban a legal product! This is freedom? The NFL is for entertainment and steroids makes the game entertaining; very entertaining.
    BTW- I never heard a Pro Wrestler being suspended for steroids.

  9. Saint33 says: Oct 15, 2010 2:05 PM

    the list of banned substances seems to be the problem. I don’t think Odom’s story sound made up at all. It sounds very realistic in fact.
    Is that hard to believe with such a long list of diuretics, and other substances that are included in many prescription drugs, that players could be just using these drugs for their proper purposes, and aren’t actually cheaters?
    Frankly to me it’s all about Goodell’s firm stance on the drug policy that is the problem. To weed out all the actual cheaters, he’s thrown numerous others under the bus, who simply are trying to live their lives. A small mistake like being handed the wrong pill from your wife should not be worth a 4 game suspension. That’s ridiculous.

  10. rod says: Oct 15, 2010 2:12 PM

    i do not know if the policy needs to change. In every policy there are cases which are unfornunate. No evidence is presented that he had not been taking wifes medicine for weeks, thus loss of 20 – 30 pounds. I need to know if concentration levels are present in the test and if it can tell lenghth of taking drugs

  11. Sting Ray says: Oct 15, 2010 2:18 PM

    I’m a Bengals fan and based on upon what I just read, Antwan has only himself and his wife to blame. It’s a banned substance and he put it in his body, it’s his responsibility. Florio is right. You’ve got guy’s who are clear melon heads like Brian Cushing who will make up any story he can, even if it isn’t plausbile, with no retort.
    The odd thing in this case, is the time off for Odom will very likely benefit him physically. He got sick and lost the weight in preseason because he has sleep apnea and hadn’t used the machine that helps him breath at night in months and the machine got moldly and made him sick and lose all that weight. He looked bad in preseason, thin and got pushed around by offensive tackles. He needs the time to build his body back up.

  12. dfeltz says: Oct 15, 2010 2:21 PM

    That all sounds good from his attorney, but it only happened once and the one time I got tested!! I am no doctor, but I am sure the milligrams prescribed to his wife would be significantly lower than if it were prescribed to him, so I don’t think just taking one would show up that overwhelmingly in a urine sample.

  13. dfeltz says: Oct 15, 2010 2:22 PM

    That all sounds good from his attorney, but it only happened once and the one time I got tested!! I am no doctor, but I am sure the milligrams prescribed to his wife would be significantly lower than if it were prescribed to him, so I don’t think just taking one would show up that overwhelmingly in a urine sample.

  14. Ravens Fan says: Oct 15, 2010 2:27 PM

    What a load of crap. He can’t afford a plane from Alabama to Cincinnati? I guess it’s a good thing his wife wasn’t taking estrogen pills, otherwise Antwan word have to explain an increase in breast size.

  15. BengalsDouche2 says: Oct 15, 2010 2:27 PM

    They do test concentration levels b/c they can test to see if your urine is “too watered down” also meaning someone is frantically trying to flush something out of their system. So I’d imagine they do test for how strong of a mark that drug is making on their system to see how much or how long they’ve taken it.

  16. Oldecrusty says: Oct 15, 2010 2:30 PM

    NEWS FLASH!
    Cushing retractes his overwork syndrome alibi and now says he thought his girlfriends birth control pills were breathmints.

  17. frottis says: Oct 15, 2010 2:41 PM

    Lamest excuse ever….in a long line of lame excuses. Did his lawyer actually try to keep a straight face while stating this, or was it just a letter they all chuckled at while writing it.
    You play professional football for millions of dollars but are careless with yours and your wife’s medication bottles?? Give me a freaking break!!!
    That attorney should be ashamed of himself for perpetuating this “blame someone else” mentality.
    Wait, I’m sorry, I almost forgot that lawyer’s have no shame and invented “blame someone else”.

  18. shaunypoo says: Oct 15, 2010 2:44 PM

    My wife and I take plenty of vitamins. She made our seperate piles and I grabbed mine and took them. My wife looked at me and asked me why I took her birth control pill. Whoops.
    You have a real tall soapbox, there.

  19. Norseman says: Oct 15, 2010 3:04 PM

    The NFLPA needs to insist on a clause that requires the NFL to generate and furnish an official list of banned and/or prohibited over-the-counter or prescription supplements, substances and ingredients. Further, that the NFL must not withhold knowledge or information of such from Players. In addition, Players will not be held in violation for ingesting banned substances if they are not listed among the ingredients of over-the-counter supplements. The NFL will establish and maintain a Hot-Line for Players to call regarding any supplement or substance. Players are strictly responsible for any ingested substance the the NFL lists. If it is not on the list, it is fair game.
    That way, there are no excuses for either party.

  20. shawnc16 says: Oct 15, 2010 3:06 PM

    qwerty says:
    October 15, 2010 2:05 PM
    Should be illegal to ban a legal product! This is freedom? The NFL is for entertainment and steroids makes the game entertaining; very entertaining.
    BTW- I never heard a Pro Wrestler being suspended for steroids.
    ___________________________
    Wrestlers get suspended all the time for taking steroids. They have a 3 strikes and you are fired policy in the WWE.
    Why should it be illegal? You act like its everyone’s god given right to play in the NFL. The people who own the NFL have every tight to decide restrictions on who gets in there league.

  21. Unnamed Source says: Oct 15, 2010 3:20 PM

    shaunypoo says:
    October 15, 2010 2:44 PM
    My wife and I take plenty of vitamins. She made our seperate piles and I grabbed mine and took them. My wife looked at me and asked me why I took her birth control pill. Whoops
    —————
    unwanted pregnancy is a pro, not a con

  22. LightningLucci says: Oct 15, 2010 3:25 PM

    “And who takes pills while driving a car?”
    People who take pills, that’s who.
    Sometimes people are supposed to take certain pills twice a day. If you’re driving on a 8+ hour trip, it’s quite likely that you’ll be taking your pills in the car.
    Sheesh.

  23. granadafan says: Oct 15, 2010 3:52 PM

    One more reason to hate lawyers/agents/PR people. Seriously, anyone who buys this story has to be the most gullible person on the face of th earth.

  24. william sizemore says: Oct 15, 2010 3:53 PM

    I think Norseman has it right, today there are so many things in what we buy that any one can make a mistake, I hope the commissioner never makes a mistake. Bill

  25. CD_Ridge says: Oct 15, 2010 3:59 PM

    David Cornwell? Is he same David Cornwell employed by Ben Roethlisberger? if so, an interesting list of clients he has.

  26. TheVillain112 says: Oct 15, 2010 4:03 PM

    Odom has been trying to GAIN weight after he reported to camp. Him testing positive for a weight loss supplement and getting banned for it is idiotic.
    Use common sense when you can NFL…

  27. albballaz says: Oct 15, 2010 4:06 PM

    Did Odom tell the Bengals about this incident before the test, or after he found out the test was positve? It doesn’t matter f it was an accident, it happened and if he ddn’t tell them prior to his test, he tried to cover up something.

  28. BuckeyeBengal says: Oct 15, 2010 4:11 PM

    As a Bengals fan, I don’t care about this bullsh*t. Odom isn’t winning or losing us games. Palmer is throwing games away left and right. This doesn’t mean anything for our season. Has Odom even had a sack yet this year? How many 1?

  29. HardcoreH1 says: Oct 15, 2010 4:24 PM

    The dude takes some pills to get over an illness and gets the same suspension as a fat overrated idiot that raped a chick.
    I bet Goddell and the Rooneys celebrate Christmas together.

  30. dEV says: Oct 15, 2010 4:26 PM

    They make pills in different shapes, sizes, and colors for a reason. I think that every player who decides to mouth off like this ends up making themselves sound more guilty, and ultimately gets the kind of attention that they don’t want.
    I think the “confidentiality” thing should go both ways. If the player talks to the media, the league should be able to release all of the evidence to the media.

  31. spikedawg says: Oct 15, 2010 4:27 PM

    I believe it used to be written on a scrip bottle label, it is a FEDERAL crime to ingest anyone elses prescription drugs. According to my employers drug policy, if I get caught taking a banned drug whether it is a family members or street drug, I don’t get suspended, oh no, I get fired. Zero tolerance drug policy. So I guess I have to ask all the defenders of busted rich athletes, Why should I give a crap that they only get suspended on the first offense or that whatever story they have as an excuse even matters. They know what the freakin policy is and what it means to their employment. Hey, I would probably smoke dope if it wouldn’t get me fired, but I don’t because the consequences are that I lose my job. Its a choice.

  32. jacklambertslovechild says: Oct 15, 2010 4:40 PM

    Maybe I’m confusing the baseball PED policy with the NFL’s, but doesn’t a suspension constitute a repeat offence? Help me out Florio, esq.
    If so, just shut up Antwan.

  33. rmooney says: Oct 15, 2010 4:46 PM

    Well, the NFL guy, Harold Henderson, did say he found ‘credible and convincing eveidence that Mr. Odom inadvertently took medicine prescribed for his wife’, so this seems like a bit more than ‘trotting out a story.’
    And Big Ben got four games for doing stuff that any normal person would consider far worse…

  34. funi says: Oct 15, 2010 4:55 PM

    Popping pills at night while driving? What did he wash them down with? He took “her prescription weight loss pills”, how much does she weigh?!

  35. graphx says: Oct 15, 2010 4:57 PM

    Who takes pills while they’re driving?
    People put on makeup while they’re driving.
    People read while they’re driving.
    People text while they’re driving.
    Heck, people even leave replies to PFT while they’re dri

  36. ItalianStallion says: Oct 15, 2010 5:06 PM

    Depends on what this medication is…
    It could be something as harmless as meridia, or it could be some sort of stimulant, like an amphetamine. They’re all prescription, and can both be used for weight loss. The difference being, one may help with performance.
    Why don’t they just tell us the drug and let us form our own opinions.

  37. Airperuvian says: Oct 15, 2010 5:28 PM

    I even saw a woman trying to eat her hamburger while texting and driving with her belly since she was to big to lift her knee above her stomach.
    Ive even taken a pill while driving, its like smoking while driving but easier. So Mr. florio youre dumb and you need to come back to reality.

  38. FinFan6886 says: Oct 15, 2010 6:15 PM

    If it happened and he knew it, then he could have just informed the league and likely avoided a fine…but he didn’t. I find it difficult to believe he all of a sudden remembered this scenario only after the drug test came back. Learn to lie better or just be up front in the first place. He should get an extra game for trying to pass off that stupid excuse.

  39. qwerty says: Oct 15, 2010 6:17 PM

    @shawnc16
    The NFL should have no right to regulate what legal over-the-counter medication they ingest (as in the case of the Williams’ Wall.) Their steroid policy violates the players constitutional rights! If the NFL can’t test properly for an illegal substance they shouldn’t be able to take action for detecting potential masking agents. Odom is being sanctioned for taking a masking agent not that he took an illegal medication. Diuretics are used to flush your system and hide potential drug use.
    @spikedawg
    Your company can not ban substances. It tests for certain Federally banned substances; not substances they themselves ban. Odom is being sanctioned for taking a masking agent not a federally illegal substance (steroids, cocaine, etc…)
    Important to explain to you as I had to explain to employees in all my previous companies; the company cannot fire you for taking over-the-counter medication that can be used for masking illegal drugs! You wouldn’t be fired for taking your wife’s prescription weight loss medication either. Companies must specify what they are testing for and most companies test for the typical street drugs. However the NFL can ban over-the-counter meds; how is that legal?

  40. Brian Spears says: Oct 15, 2010 6:29 PM

    I dont care about steroids. I dont care about PED’s let the guys play. Goodel be a comish and not principal. We dont care what you think and do not want hear your name through out the week.

  41. NFLJunkie says: Oct 15, 2010 7:00 PM

    Maybe I’m confusing the baseball PED policy with the NFL’s, but doesn’t a suspension constitute a repeat offence? Help me out Florio, esq.
    If so, just shut up Antwan.

    First offense is a mandatory 4-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. Different policy than the “recreational” substance abuse policy.
    Odom is a good guy. He’s had his share of health issues since he’s been in the league, including the same adenoid/severe sleep apnea issues that supposedly contributed to Reggie White’s death.
    In fact, White’s death scared Odom enough to seek medical treatment. Odom went through some tough times with that adenoid surgery, and then sadly lost his 24-year-old sister whose death was also attributed to severe sleep apnea.
    I would definitely give this guy the benefit of the doubt in this case, but the fact is it doesn’t really matter with the way the policy is enforced. A lot of people want to paint every offense/offender with the same brush, but sometimes a mistake is just an honest mistake.

  42. brasho says: Oct 15, 2010 7:31 PM

    Sure, blame it on the wife, she’s the perfect scapegoat. A woman that has a vested interest in whether or not her husband loses 4 game checks…
    Then on top of the convenient scapegoat with a vested interest in her husband passing a drug test, most weight loss medicines also contain stimulants which can and often used to aid in energy and performance in workouts. Odom is full of crap and his excuse is right up there/down there with Brian Cushing’s OTAS.

  43. Spoonthis says: Oct 15, 2010 8:19 PM

    Hey Antwan, you would have been better off drinking and driving. The NFL doesn’t suspend you for that.
    Yours truly,
    Braylon Edwards

  44. chiefkief says: Oct 15, 2010 9:43 PM

    Long drive from Alabama to Cinci ?? His wife’s water pills ??? Sounds to me like he wanted to stay awake either from the stimulants in the diet pills or from having to take a leak

  45. CKL says: Oct 16, 2010 1:42 AM

    If the NFL wants to get serious about banned substances here’s how: you ever test positive for anything and you appeal and lose? No health insurance after you leave the game. And I am 100% in favor of all retired players having NFL provided health insurance until Medicare kicks in. That’s where fine money should go. When your long term health gets compromised solely due to your profession, you deserve the insurance as a part of the deal. How many of these guys could get private health insurance at a decent rate with all their preexisting conditions? And on the other side of the coin, if your health is a big part of your professional success and salary, your employer should be able to restrict your choices to substances that don’t compromise that.

  46. FootballFreak says: Oct 16, 2010 10:03 AM

    “And here’s our statement in response to Cornwell’s explanation: It doesn’t matter.”
    Exactly, it is that simple.
    Remember how that cyclist who won the tour de france argued vociferously & tired to use an ‘overtraining’ arguement that sounds as plausible as letting your wife give you something that could seriously damage your career. Can we beleive he didn’t know she was taking meds & would ask her to verify? Did she not turn on the dome light? The point is it doesn’t matter.

  47. ochostinko says: Oct 16, 2010 3:46 PM

    @Spoonthis -
    Sad, but 100% true!

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