The NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy continues to ensnare anyone but cheaters.
The latest player to be suspended, Chiefs tackle Donald Stephenson, has become the latest to offer up an excuse unrelated to the intentional ingestion of a substance aimed at enhancing performance.
”I’m extremely sorry that I failed to check with the NFL, NFLPA, or Chiefs medical team before I took a medication that requires a therapeutic use exemption,” Stephenson said in a statement issued by the NFLPA. “The rules are strict, and without at TUE, the consequence is a four game suspension. I apologize to the Hunt family, John Dorsey, Coach Reid and his staff, my teammates, and our awesome Chiefs fans. It is not a mistake I will ever make again. I will train extremely hard during my time away from the team, and I will be ready to contribute to my teams effort to win a Super Bowl as soon as I return.”
Stephenson doesn’t say that he had a prescription for the medication that he took. He also doesn’t specify whether the medication is a stimulant or something that would help build muscle mass or speed recovery from injury.
For the Chiefs, it doesn’t matter. For the second straight Friday, they’ve lost an offensive starter to a suspension. (Last week, it was receiver Dwayne Bowe for one game under the substance-abuse policy.) They’ll also be required, by league policy, to pay a share of Stephenson’s lost salary to the league in the form of a fine, since he becomes the second Chiefs player to be suspended this year.