One thing I learned in the day job that I finally quit it (after receiving consistent advice not to) is that, when it come to credibility of a witness, the devil often resides in the details.
In many situations, then, the only way to get to the truth is to focus on irregularities regarding an issue that seems to be collateral to the real question, but in reality isn’t.
In the case of the reported drug rumors that have been plaguing former Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, Dan Patrick was firing off (respectfully but pointedly) a host of questions regarding the topic during Wednesday’s show.
At one point, Dan got very specific: “Did you pass the drug test at the Combine?”
Mallett didn’t hesitate. “Yes sir,” he said.
There’s a problem with that answer. The same source who told us nine days ago that Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy wouldn’t know so quickly that he scored a 48 on the Wonderlic test tells us that Mallett doesn’t yet know whether he passed the drug test.
Players who fail the drug test find out about it in April. Less than two weeks removed from peeing in a cup with 300-plus other incoming rookies and having the contents subjected to testing and analysis and confirmation testing if a preliminary positive is generated, there’s no way Mallett or any other player has received an affirmative “all clear.”
Of course, Mallett may say that he was merely expressing confidence in the ultimate outcome and not representing that he has learned he supplied clean urine. In context, however, Dan was asking a specific question, and the most accurate answer would have been, “I don’t know the result yet, but I’m confident I did.”
We’re willing to give Mallett the benefit of the doubt in this regard, even though the context suggests a direct question that contemplated a direct answer, and the direct answer strongly implied that Mallett already knows he passed the test. Still, we came away from listening to the interview believing that Mallett knows he passed the test, and the truth is he simply doesn’t, yet.
That said, a negative outcome to a known test doesn’t constitute conclusive proof of residence in the Sober Valley Lodge. Instead, the players who test positive at the Scouting Combine are regarded as guys who have a real problem — or who are really, really dumb.
UPDATE: Those of you who think Mallett clearly was saying that he believes he passed the test and not declaring that he has received word he passed it, listen to the entire interview and consider the context. The only answers to the question of whether or not someone passed any test are: (1) yes; (2) no; and (3) I haven’t gotten the results yet. When Mallett said, “Yes sir,” he strongly implied that he has gotten the results. Our point is that he hasn’t gotten the results. Intentionally or not, his response to the question suggests otherwise.