A bizarre situation in Tampa keeps getting even more bizarre.
The statement from Buccaneers running back Doug Martin creates the impression that he is starting a four-game suspension under the substance-abuse policy, and that he has developed a chemical dependency on one or more of the NFL’s recognized substances of abuse. In truth, however, his suspension didn’t arise under the substance-abuse policy.
According to the NFL, Martin violated the PED policy.
Adding to the confusion is the reality that the PED policy results in a four-game suspension for a first offense. For Martin to be at the point where he requires treatment, it implies a degree of usage that would have resulted in more than one violation.
None of it changes the fact that Martin will miss the final game of 2016 and the first three games of 2017, or that the guarantee applicable to his 2017 base salary of $7 million has now disappeared. However, it’s clear that Martin is trying to create the impression that he was suspended for violating an antiquated substance-abuse policy and not for PED use.
Which means that this could be the new P.R. approach for players who previously had relied on simply claiming that they had taken a substance that, unbeknownst to them, contained a PED.