Martavis Bryant apparently hasn’t chosen football over marijuana.
Dejan Kovacevic of dkpittsburghsports.com reports that Bryant is “facing a season-long suspension.”
If this flows from the continuation of issues that Bryant said after serving a four-game suspension in 2015 “are behind me now,” it’s unclear why Bryant has skipped over the 10-game suspension and went straight to what would be, technically, a banishment with the ability to apply for reinstatement after one calendar year passes. It’s possible that, while facing a 10-game suspension for a violation of the policy, Bryant committed a separate violation.
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, confirming the report, adds that Bryant’s agent says the suspension has been appealed. With final say for these infractions now possessed by an independent panel of arbitrators, negotiations between the NFL and the union can be much more meaningful.
If Bryant misses the full season, it would be a huge blow to one of the best offenses in the NFL, and it would possibly force the Steelers to try to find another mid-to-late-round receiving gem, a skill they have developed and perfected over the last decade with guys like Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, and Bryant.
Last year’s third-round receiver, Sammie Coates, would have a chance to step up. Or maybe they’d bring back Wallace, who was cut last week by the Vikings.
For now, the chase will begin for confirmation of the report from Kovacevic, who previously worked for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Elaboration also will be needed before the situation can be fully understood.
If Bryant, one of the best receivers in the NFL, misses the season because of marijuana, it will be even more reason for the NFL to take a serious look at the sensibility of telling players that they can’t consume on their own time a substance that is legal to use for all purposes in two of the 22 states in which the NFL does business.