Earlier this year, the NFL suspended Texans punter Brett Hartmann for four games, based on a violation of the league’s steroids policy. The suspension has now been reduced to three games, and Hartmann has gone public with the reasons for the suspension and the eventual reduction.
Hartmann tells FOX 26 in Houston that he was suspended for taking Ritalin without approval — and that he now has approval to take Ritalin.
“I took something that was under the performance enhancing banned substance list,” Hartmann told Mark Berman of FOX 26. “It was something for a medical condition that I didn’t have approval for from the NFL and now I currently have approval for it, so I can take it.”
The NFL ultimately cut Hartmann some slack, cutting on appeal the four-game ban to three. But Hartmann still was deemed responsible for taking a banned substance without approval.
“It was just for ADD medicine, but now I have approval to take it from our doctors and the NFL doctors,” Hartmann said. “I just made a mistake. Should have got that approved before. Just got to move on. Serve the three-game suspension.”
It’s odd that the NFL gave Hartmann a break. We’ve been led to believe for years that the league’s banned substances policy is a black-and-white proposition. So either Hartmann has a valid excuse and he shouldn’t be suspended at all — or he has no excuse and he should be suspended for all four games.
Hartmann will be replaced during his suspension by veteran Donnie Jones. In theory, Jones could do a good enough job to leave Hartmann with no job to come back to, making the suspension, as a practical matter, 16 games.