NFLPA supports Mathis, too


Colts linebacker Robert Mathis has received plenty of support in the wake of the news that he’ll be suspended four games for violating the league’s policy regarding performance-enhancing substances.

From his agent to his coach and now to the union that agreed to include the fertility drug Mathis took on the list of banned substances, everyone is embracing the veteran — and no one (other than the league) is suggesting that he actually broke a rule.

“We are disappointed in Roger’s decision,” NFLPA president Eric Winston said in a statement issued by the union.  “Given the set of facts that Robert, medical experts and our union presented, upholding this suspension shows a lack of compassion and perspective.  We support Robert and are happy for him and his family.”

Mathis explained in a separate statement that he took the banned substance to assist with efforts to conceive a child, and that those efforts were successful.

Still, the policy as negotiated by the union doesn’t have a “compassion and perspective” exception.  It’s strict liability; if the player has a banned substance in his system, it’s a violation.

If the union didn’t want its players to be subject to such a system, the union never should have agreed to it.  And if the union now wants the system to include an exception for “compassion and perspective,” the NFL probably would at least consider that possibility — in exchange for a corresponding concession.

42 responses to “NFLPA supports Mathis, too

  1. Really is it as no surprise anyone that has anything to gain from him is on his side? It would be refreshing for a player just to say I screwed up and will not let it happen again. Instead we have to hear the countless excuses.

  2. Goodell: Since our efforts to remove all emotion and passion from the game have been futile thus far, we will concede this so-called “compassion and perspective” clause in exchange for all players undergoing a procedure that will turn them into cyborgs.

  3. Why does the NFLPA agree to all these rules? It doesn’t make sense. At least they should have a case by case basis. If this was prescribed by a doctor then it shouldn’t be against the rules.

  4. Mathis’ story seems FOS. So he didn’t want to share the details of his fertility issues with his teammates or the league office; but now has no qualms having his agent share that story with the entire world?! The whole setup seems extremely convenient..

  5. I don’t get why so many people are up in arms over this. The league tells the players over and over again know what u are putting in your body. If there is a drug that u are considering taking have your team doctors and/ or the league check it out before u take it. He did neither. His own doctor said it was ok but his doctor doesn’t work for the team or the NFL. So the league follows the rule and everyone is mad? Maybe he could have got an exception from the league had he explained the situation before he took the drug but he didn’t do that either. He just took it and now he’s surprised. Why should the league give him a break when others have done the same thing and didn’t get a break. What makes him special? Now I know a lot of u will say well his situation was different? Well if the league lets him slide then what happens the next time a player gets popped and he says I had a legitimate reason too, should the league give him a pass too? Again all he had to do was have it checked by the league and all of this wouldn’t have happened but he didn’t and he and everyone else on his side are mad at the league and Goodell? Really?

  6. Compassion and perspective doesn’t matter. The drug is classified as a PED. Why should Mathis get an advantage? So basically he should be able to cheat because he’s having problems conceiving a child.

  7. of course you got his back …now if his only playing time was from special teams and the 4th string RB the colts would say we refuse to have players break the rules it gives our organization a bad name…but since its Mathis yea you got his back just like the 49ers have Aldon Smiths back about that bomb threat at the NFL

  8. NFLPA are fools swallowing the story Mathis has put out, he didn’t consult anyone from his team, the NFL or the NFLPA before taking a known performance enhancer and now he has a convenient sob story. Disappointed in the NFLPA for not sticking up for the clean guys.

  9. I call BS. Mathis isn’t stupid. He’s been in the league long enough to know the rules and to know exactly what he was doing. Not to say he wan’t trying to make babies, but the drug is ON THE BANNED list. Not a supplement.

    The Commish… once he allows a hole-in-the-dam, everyone will want to enhance their baby-making potential with this drug. Keep the playing field level, Roger. You’re doing what needs to be done to keep the game fair.

    Stick to your guns. No favorites.


  10. The union keeps complaining about the agreement they signed, this union is a joke.

  11. the NFL’s response was excellent and clearly laid out. He did not use any of the resources available to him and which were negotiated by his union.
    No use of the free hotline to check, no use of the team doctor to check, no use of the list of banned substances, no use of the trainer to check, no use of anything the NFL and his union negotiated to help him find a fertility drug that was not a banned substance.
    As the NFL stated they want the players to be in control and responsible for what they put in their bodies, he clearly violated that.
    The drug he chose is on the PED list, and all NFL players should have known from past instances that anything they take needs to be checked with the NFL. For a cold, runny nose, allergies or anything.

  12. the guy took a fertility drug that was not FDA approved for men (the drug is for women, does not help a man) and is very commonly used by steroid users to get their hormones back to normal before testing . . . he broke the rules plain and simple . . . he deserves to be suspended and should quit whining about it . . . if he really thought he was taking that drug to help his sperm, then he really needs to find a doctor that will prescribe him fertility medication for men that has a chance of helping him . . .

  13. If Mathis had made one phone call to someone who knows the NFL drugs policy (or anything about PEDs at all), he wouldn’t be in this mess, because he wouldn’t have taken the damn drug. Goodell correctly applied the policy as it is stated, and no amount of emotional blackmail is going to change that fact.

  14. So much for ethics. If it were up to the PA the players could take what they wanted when they wanted.

  15. It seems like the NFLPA needs to revisit a number of things passed over in hast in the signing of the most recent CBA. The players were under pressure from the fans to reach a quick and timely settlement so as to avoid a lockout; this served only to benefit the owners. The banned drug policy is but one misstep that I think was “slipped by” the union and I’m beginning to feel they need to get their lawyers busy going over this agreement again to assess all it’s other weaknesses for the players.

  16. He cheated just own up to it, it’s America you will be forgiven. People have done much worst. Just be straight up and say yup I did it and it helped me play better

  17. Anabolic steroid dealers and peptide hormone dealers support mathis, too.

    Well… actually… mathis supported them first.

  18. Dear Eric Winston,

    If you want to be taken seriously, I would suggest not talking out of both sides of your mouth. To say you are disappointed with his decision is admitting that he is guilty. Then to say the punishment should not be enforced is BP. How can you have it both ways?

  19. NFLPA is doing a major disservice to all its members who don’t cheat by protecting and enabling the cheaters. But it happens so consistently and predictably that it makes me wonder if there are a lot more guys than we realize who are cheating.

  20. This will be the #1 example the union points to as to why they wont agree to Goodell holding all the cards as it pertains to HGH testing. If all the facts are true here, Goodell is suggesting that a man having difficulty conceiving a child further delay doing so, and risk the possibility of never having a child all in the name of being an NFL player. No job should have such restrictions on someone’s personal life.

  21. Breaking rules because you either think you have a good excuse or because you didn’t think at all shows a lack of perspective, too.

    A multibillion dollar business and a professional athlete both lacking perspective. Shocker.

  22. Problem is – if he had a prescription for it (and the doctor’s note, etc, etc) this wouldn’t be an issue.

    For it to get to the point for the league to give him a 4 game suspension means he didn’t have the necessary paperwork and approvals….

  23. How about the fact that fertility doctor’s actually are only the woman’s doctor, therefore he shouldn’t have prescribed anything to Mathis. Our fertility doctor specifically said there isn’t a medicine that works on the male. Mathis and his wife may have been trying, but his excuse is so bogus. Especially when Clomid is a known drug for steroid cycles.

  24. Yes, it’s a potential fertility drug – if you have hypogonadism. While not rare, it’s not common. And the fact remains clomid is a known steroid with one purpose – increase testosterone. The fact Mathis didn’t bother to check with the NFL is stunning.

    Whatever happened to accountability in our country? He took the drug, he didn’t report the drug. Why is this being debated? One man, and one man only, is accountable for this suspension – Robert Mathis.

  25. Never had more than 11.5 sacks in any of his 10 previous seasons and suddenly at 32 has 19.5 wow just so happens to be taking a steroids masking agent. I’m not judging but I’m not naïve.

  26. I don’t see how this is so complicated. Cheating or not, you took something you weren’t supposed too and didn’t tell them about it.

  27. Taking a prescribed drug while under a physician’s care should not have to be defended or cost anyone to be penalized by their employer. When did Goodell get a medical degree and what qualifies the NFL to override a board certified specialist’s credentials when it comes to these matters that are not black and white? Hope that President Winston
    “tener cajones” to challenge the poorly constructed substance policy passed in hast under the latest CBA.

  28. Ever notice how QBs never take anything that’s a banned substance? Mostly, its defensive players who are always trying to get bigger. They have a hotline they can call to double check before they take anything. Use it.
    Now I’m not saying Mathis is a dirty player, but come on. Call the hotline first. Veterans should know better. If you don’t call it, and you take something anyway, then shut up and take your suspension.

  29. What about the report that the illegal substance has NO effect on the likelihood of pregnancy–it doesn’t improve his chances in anyway. It does, however, improve physical performance on an athletic level.

  30. These guys never learn. According to the CBA they agreed to, players are responsible for EVERYTHING that goes in their body. It doesn’t matter if the banned substance doesn’t make sense. They are strongly encouraged to check with the league BEFORE taking any medications, supplements,etc. If it’s medically necessary to take a banned substance, there is a process they have to go through BEFORE they take the drug. They ALL know this! It isn’t some secret. How many times has Mathis (and others) watched fellow players get suspended for taking supplements or prescription drugs that had a banned substance? Ultimately, it’s their body and the league holds them accountable for what goes into it. The CBA sets forth the rules regarding banned substances and repercussions for failing to follow the rules. Sorry, he gets no sympathy from me.

  31. The problem isn’t the rule that was broke but WHO broke them. Mathis is a star player for his team and a veteran with major pull amongst the NFLPA due to his relationship with many of members of the executive committee so it’s more of a situation of friends standing behind friends more than it is the NFLPA standing up for an unjust rule (one that as many have already pointed out THEY agreed to). If this was undrafted free agent 3rd string Ben Mathis (made up name) the NFLPA would be nowhere to be found.

  32. NFLPA is doing a major disservice to all its members who don’t cheat by protecting and enabling the cheaters.
    Well said. The NFLPA has turned into a circular firing squad.

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