Another suspension under the PED program, another player who hasn’t admitted to taking a stigmatizing compound like steroids.
”Recently I learned from the NFL that I tested positive for a stimulant that is banned under the NFL policy,” Nealy said in a statement issued by the NFLPA. “I worked with my agent and the union to investigate the test results, and I learned that a supplement I took contained a banned stimulant. I understand that the NFL policy is very strict, and I take responsibility. I’m very sorry for the impact of this situation on my teammates, the Vikings organization and Vikings fans. I will work extremely hard during training camp, and during the suspension, I will stay in top shape and will be ready to contribute upon my return.”
If that text sounds familiar, it should. It reads a lot like the statement issued by the Dolphins on Jordan’s behalf.
“I recently learned from the NFL that I tested positive for stimulants that are banned under the NFL policy,” Jordan’s statement said. “I worked carefully with my advisors and the union to investigate the test results, and I take full responsibility for the test results. I’m very sorry for the impact of this situation on my teammates, coaches, Stephen Ross, the entire Dolphins organization, fans and my family as well. I will continue to work extremely hard during training camp and preseason. During the suspension, I will stay in top shape and will be ready to contribute upon my return.”
The biggest substantive difference between the statements comes from Nealy’s concession that he took a supplement that contained a banned stimulant. He doesn’t, unlike others before him, claim that the supplement was spiked with the banned stimulant without his knowledge.
For both players, the term “stimulant” has replaced the recent explanations pointing to Adderall, which contains a banned stimulant. And while it’s entirely possible that both players indeed took a banned stimulant and not something more sinister like steroids, there’s no way to know because the NFL currently doesn’t have the ability to correct the record by disputing either player.