On Tuesday, Redskins tackle Trent Williams and tight end Fred Davis received four-game suspensions for their most recent violations of the substance-abuse policy. On Wednesday, they apologized for suspensions that will keep them out of action for the rest of the season, according to Mike Jones of the Washington Post.
“I know they feel bad about it,” quarterback Rex Grossman said, per Jones. “They talked to us today in a team meeting, just letting us know they’re remorseful and that they’re apologetic about it. They feel bad enough. It’s a tough situation for them. They know they made a mistake and they have to pay some pretty harsh consequences for it.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down, Mr. Screw-It-I’m-Throwin’-Deep. These guys didn’t make a mistake. They chose marijuana (or whatever banned recreational substance they’ve been using) over football.
Under the steroids policy, a “mistake” translates into a four-game suspension. Under the substance-abuse policy, only a lifestyle results in a suspension.
By the time a player is suspended under the substance-abuse policy, he has violated the policy at least two times. As to Williams and Davis, they reportedly tested positive after the lockout — and then again during the season. But for a negotiated resolution to the union’s belief that a grace period should have applied once the lockout ended (which makes sense given that players in the substance-abuse program had no access to counseling services during the league-imposed work stoppage), Williams and Davis would have been in line for a one-year banishment.
Plenty of players have chosen marijuana over football. Ricky Williams once did, but then he chose football. Neither Davis nor Williams engaged in a momentary lapse in judgment. They violated the substance-abuse policy several times, which means they’ve had several chances to avoid making the choices that have caused them to miss the rest of the 2011 season.
Moving forward, they’ll be one additional “mistake” away from a full one-year suspension. And that’s particularly bad news for Davis, who’ll be a free agent in March.