Jordan Black, the Redskins offensive tackle who is serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, has lashed out against the NFL’s process for suspending players. And he has also lashed out at PFT.
Appearing on ESPN 980 on Tuesday, Black said that the NFL treated him unfairly for using a prescription drug for a medical need.
“It is a prescription,” Black said. “I gave the NFL the prescriptions that I received for it. They’ve known about the diagnosis. They’ve had their own doctors confirm the diagnosis, multiple times. I’ve seen more doctors than you can even imagine about this very case that we are talking about, but in the appeals process, it just doesn’t matter. It is a system that, instead of having someone that can take a look at all the information and make a logical decision based on the information that’s there, they instead have a attack-dog attorney who tries to paint some — mischaracterize a person and put labels on them like a doper or, you know, whatever in order to find the player guilty. I mean, it was clearly — I had no chance from the beginning.”
Black then took issue with my post on Monday, which I headlined, “After gaining 50 pounds this year, Jordan Black busted for PEDs.” Black says he did not gain anywhere near that much weight.
“There’s a guy from Pro Football Talk, his name is Michael David Smith, and he wrote an article, I think either today or yesterday, talking about how I gained 50 pounds in the preseason, and he was trying to paint a picture that I was clearly using steroids,” Black said. “Well, I took a picture of the scale and my weight, and the scale said 275.2 pounds. So this is why I’m so upset, is people like this, who just make up stories and put it in the news like it’s true. He says I’ve gained 50 pounds. I’ve gained five pounds.”
Black also mentioned me, and that picture of his scale, on Twitter.
Jordan Black (@jordanblack78) December 18, 2012
To be clear, I didn’t pull the 50-pound weight gain out of the clear blue sky. I got it from a piece published by the Washington Post on October 17, headlined, “Jordan Black on losing, then gaining, 50 pounds.” That piece was published two months after another piece in the Washington Post, headlined, “Jordan Black is getting bigger, and he says, better.” That story quoted Black as saying he had already gained 11 pounds in just two weeks after signing with the Redskins at the start of training camp.
Black has a fair point if the Washington Post headline citing his 50-pound weight gain was in error — which Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post acknowledged was a possibility today. I have no reason to doubt that the picture Black posted on Twitter really is a picture of a scale he’s standing on, and that he really does weigh 275.2 pounds. But for Black to claim that I “made up” the 50-pound weight gain, when he knows full well that the information I was using came from the Washington Post, and when he had previously told the Washington Post that he was rapidly gaining weight during training camp, is absurd.
When asked on ESPN 980 whether the banned substance he took was the attention deficit disorder medication Adderall, which many NFL players have blamed for PED suspensions, Black declined to answer.
“First of all, my purpose on the show is not to confirm or deny whether or not it was Adderall or anything ADD-related,” Black said. “What I want people to definitely know is that it has nothing to do with steroids. I mean, I guess it has to do with performance-enhancing drugs, because it’s on the list, but it is not a steroid.”
If Black is telling the truth, then it’s surprising that he won’t name the prescription medication he took. And if he’s telling the truth, he should be unhappy with his own union for agreeing to a PED policy that demands strict confidentiality from the NFL: Because the NFL won’t disclose what substance Black and other suspended players test positive for, there’s no way to know which players were suspended for steroids, which players were suspended for Adderall or which players were suspended for any number of other substances on the banned list.
In many other sports, when an athlete tests positive, the announcement of the positive test also includes information about the banned substance that the athlete took. Everyone would be better off if the NFL would adopt such a policy. Everyone except steroid-using players who want to hide behind the NFL’s confidentiality rules.