Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman prevailed Thursday in what many believed was a no-win situation — persuading the NFL to scuttle the results of one of its drug tests.
Sherman’s next challenge will be even more difficult.
He said in the aftermath of the positive ruling that he plans to take action regarding the fact that news of his positive test was leaked to the media before the appeal process was concluded. The league’s policy regarding steroids and related substances insists on confidentiality, enforced by a fine of up to $500,000.
“Oh, that’s going to be dealt with also,” Sherman said Thursday, via Curtis Crabtree of KJR.com.
But there really isn’t anything Sherman can do. The letter explaining the ruling on his appeal points out that Sherman received notice of the positive test on November 12, and that he filed an appeal on November 17. Eight days later, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that both Sherman and teammate Brandon Browner were facing four-game suspensions.
Without knowing who told Schefter, there’s no way of knowing whether anyone from the NFL or the Seahawks violated the policy. Indeed, it’s possible that the leak came, knowingly or otherwise, from Sherman, Browner, or their agents/lawyers.
Regardless, the fact that the situation became public undoubtedly contributed to Sherman being omitted from the Pro Bowl roster.
If the policy had worked as it is intended, no one would have ever known that Sherman was facing a suspension. Now, many will still believe that Sherman cheated, and that he escaped punishment via a technicality.
It’s not fair to Sherman that we know this, but we do. Though we won’t bet against him if he’s truly determined to “deal with” the leak, it won’t nearly be as easy as what he pulled off when proving that a leaking cup of urine meant his suspension should be overturned.