Robert Mathis’s agent accuses the NFL of misleading the public


The agent for Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis is continuing his public campaign against the NFL as a result of the league suspending Mathis four games for violating the policy against performance-enhancing substances.

On Friday, agent Hadley Englehard accused the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell of acting in an “unjust and unfair” way. That led to a rare response from the NFL defending its suspension of Mathis. Today, Englehard said on Mike & Mike that the league’s statement defending Mathis’s suspension was misleading.

“They released a statement, which the NFL never does, and even in their statement, they’re misleading the public,” Englehard said.

What Englehard said was misleading was the NFL’s focus on the fact that the drug Mathis used, Clomid, is FDA approved only for women, not for men. Englehard said that doesn’t mean men can’t legitimately use it as a fertility drug.

“There’s many drugs that are not FDA approved for certain things and are used for other things, and the doctor, in direct and cross examination, even talked about that: He’s been using this as a fertility drug for 20-plus years. There’s not one shred of evidence, there’s not one shred of testimony, that says anything but, Robert used it not for anything but fertility. He used it for a short period of time, 10 to 12 days, once he found out his wife was pregnant he stopped taking it. He has the left over medication from it. There is not one shred of evidence that he used it for other than fertility,” Englehard said.

But even if that’s true, if Clomid enhanced Mathis’s performance (and some people believe Clomid boosts men’s testosterone levels and therefore elevates their athletic performance), then it’s reasonable for the NFL to suspend Mathis.

Englehard also noted that the NFL sometimes gives therapeutic-use exemptions to players to allow them to use prescription drugs for medical purposes, even if those drugs are on the banned list. Englehard said the NFL has done that for players who use Adderall, and Englehard said the league even rescinded the fine and suspension for one of his own clients in a similar situation. According to Englehard, the NFL has even given multiple therapeutic-use exemptions to other players who use Clomid for fertility, and Englehard is baffled that the NFL is treating Mathis so harshly while allowing other players to use the same substance.

Still, Englehard acknowledged that Mathis didn’t handle this according to protocol: If NFL players get a prescription from a doctor for a substance that’s on the banned list, they’re supposed to first go to the league and ask for an exemption, and only begin using the drug after they receive the exemption. Mathis didn’t tell the league he was using Clomid until after he had already tested positive for it.

If the NFL allows players to get an exemption after they’ve already failed a drug test, then any player who can come up with a plausible story has a free pass to use performance enhancers. The NFL may have been harsh with Mathis in this case, but harsh treatment of players who fail drug tests is the only way to crack down on performance-enhancing drugs.

48 responses to “Robert Mathis’s agent accuses the NFL of misleading the public

  1. I never take into account what an agent says. He’s caught, he’s busted. A dude who has already produced twins did not take a woman’s fertility drug so he could have more kids. He would have been better off giving the Adderall excuse.

  2. Sorry, you are wrong. When a drug is used for something beyond what it is approved for it is called prescribing off the label. Most doctors won’t do it because it is unethical.
    Yes the NFL sometimes does give therapeutic exemptions.
    Unfortunately for your client he would have to have requested that prior to beginning the treatment.
    Epic fail by an agent that will likely be unemployed soon.

  3. Looks like his agent is trying to put lipstick on a pig.

    What agent is going to throw his client under a bus? It’s deny deny deny – it’s not my fault…..

    As the article states – even if his doctor prescribed a women’s infertility drug for him to use – this drug is banned, is on the list – and a simple phone call would have confirmed it.

  4. In Mathis’s 11th season in the NFL he topped his career best sack total by 8 sacks!!! The substance he was caught cheating with is a well known PED masking agent. Does this agent think we are all idiots?

  5. Clomid is also used by athletes coming off a course of steroids, which is another reason it’s banned.

    Do the crime, do the time.

  6. Which makes it even more suspicious that Mathis didn’t clear this with the league prior to taking the drug. Players are reminded of this repeatedly so the “oops, I didn’t know” excuse isn’t going to fly.

  7. there were any number of people he could have checked with prior to taking the drug.
    they are told repeatedly every single year about protocols for taking anything questionable.
    he ignored those protocols and has been in the league long enough to know the ramifications for failing to follow thru with the union and/or the league. im glad hes having his desired baby. its too bad he thinks he doesnt have to follow the same rules as everyone else that belongs to the NFLPA

  8. The NFLs drug policy is archaic, draconian and applied arbitrarily. The Browner case is the best illustration.

    And why shouldn’t a player be allowed to take steroids under a doctors supervision if he’s recovering from a torn ACL or Achillies? Injured players should have an exemption.

  9. Such lies. If this was true he would have asked for permission from the league first. It’s a banned substance. It’s very likely he was using it after a cycle of steroids, otherwise, why hide it. That also lines up with his vastly improved performance last year coming late in his career, which is suspicious in itself.

  10. I don’t believe all dis, dude is a liar n a cheat! the drug was listed as band for nfl players. Why didn’t he go tru d right procedure n contact d nfl before use.

  11. Does anyone honestly think that using a fertility drug for 10-12 days will actually boost performance over the course of a long NFL season? I understand the rules and Mathis clearly made a mistake but this is one of those situations where the penalty is way more harsh than truly deserved.

  12. Was the doctor who prescribed this aware Mathis would be in violation of NFL drug policies for using? Ignorance is not an excuse when you are getting paid multiple-millions of dollars. First question you ask is will I get in trouble for using this stuff?

  13. So, the story is that Robert Mathis used Clomid, which is used as a masking agent, without approval from the league. Slam dunk. Not interested in the least about his claim of using it to combat infertility and not interested in the fact that the leagues statement might be somewhat disingenuous.

  14. The fact of the matter is that he did not first seek an exemption from the NFL – as it is clearly listed on the banned substance list and is a prescription drug. Case closed…..

  15. All this guy had to do is take some of his millions, buy a phone and call the team/league doctor and ask about what he was going to take. I realize these guys aren’t MIT grads but they should know what to do by now

  16. He didn’t follow the basic, simple rule. Call the NFL and see if the drug is on the banned list. So tired of these babied players making excuses. Hell, the NFL has a confidential 24 hr hotline if a player needs a FREE “safe ride” home and you still see players getting DUI’s. About time the league starts standing up to the players and their agents when they start crying to the media.

  17. While I don’t agree with some of the comments on here, he should have talked with the NFLPA & gone a different route than what he did. I mean you can Google the list of banned substances and it shows it on there. From a Colts fan you need to do the time and then come back and play. #Colts Strong!!

  18. Based on the facts I have seen so far, my guess is Mathis is dirty. Stat increases and a positive test for a known banned substance. The agent should shut up because his client is busted and the excuse is BS and still violates procedures.

  19. I think that many NFL athletes have done performance enhancing drugs at some point in their career, to help build muscle mass, recover from injuries, get faster, etc. That means, they already have been hiding this for a long time…maybe since high school. Their natural position is to deny. If the league wants PEDs out of the league, they need to fine teams, coaches and trainers, who can easily see that players are getting too strong or too big to have done it naturally and they turn a blind eye every day.

  20. give it up already! your client cheated and got caught for it now he pays the price, shut up and take it like a man and come back and give the same performance and you might have some credibility. somehow I do not see that happening.

  21. He’s a veteran. He knows the rules. Fire his agent and himself for incompetence. Perjury?

    Please, whatever you do, do NOT take responsibility for your own actions!!

    He could have pre-empted the entire issue if he would have disclosed to the NFLPA and the NFL he planned to undergo the treatments. Now, it is just all too suspiciously coincidental.

  22. As a Colt’s fan I say it’s time for his agent to let it go. Mathis admitted he should’ve sought league permission to use it but didn’t. Case closed. He’s accepted responsibility and the punishment. Now his agent needs to do the same.

  23. There was absolutely nothing misleading about the NFL’s statement. Also, there is absolutely no excuse for Mathis not following the rules and there is no reason for him to be attacking the NFL when he clearly is in violation and the NFL clearly does not allow exceptions.

    If Mathis just explained himself and apologized for the screw up he would look a lot better in the eyes of the public than trying to act as if he’s been victimized.

    His agent is only making things worse.

  24. This sounds a lot like spin control by the player and agent, both of whom didn’t expect to be challenged in their explanation. EVERY PLAYER and EVERY AGENT has a list of banned substances, yet they didn’t think to look at the list?

    Baloney! This is a drug taken by steroid users at the end of their cycle, and to the poster that thinks 10-12 days is too short for the drug to do anything, I ask this…. is 10-12 days long enough for the drug to increase his fertility?

  25. Damage control on the Mathis front, thats all this is.. He’s just trying to save the good name of a player who up until now has been a model athlete.. Im sure Mathis would like to retire sans the “cheater” label.

  26. Yes, because purposely trying to paint a picture of one of your league’s stars as a lying cheater is good for business…

  27. I pray that none of you ever want kids and are unable to have them. It is a pretty sensitive subject. If Robert Mathis wanted to provide his dying mother with another grandkid, I can see where he wouldn’t want it advertised all over the place that they were having a difficult time getting pregnant. Ever think that having the kid was worth the risk of missing 4 games to him?

  28. This drug: “Treats ovulation problems in women who want to become pregnant.”

    Considering this maybe there is a big announcement the player or the agent would like to make so that the public is not mislead.

    BTW- Congrats Mathis – I wish you all the best on your groundbreaking journey in your attempts to become pregnant.

  29. The agent is the only one trying to mislead the public. Accept the loss and move on. A four game suspension is generous.

  30. Seems he took it for no reason. 10 days and his wife’s prego? It’s takes 45 days for a typical woman to even think she might be prego.

  31. A couple things to think about.

    1. Nobody is talking about the fact that a 4 game suspension is from the 2nd failed test not the 1st. So he has been caught at least once before. So let’s not act like he is innocent.

    2. If he knew about the exceptions, which his agent is inferring that he did, he as well as all other players should know that you get them below taking the drugs. The is especially true since he has already failed a drug test, which means he has been more than fairly warned.

    3. His agent did throw him under the bus by admitting that Mathis has been using this for years. Is anyone going to seriously going to believe that he was trying to get pregnant with his wife when he was in his teens? So now instead of looking like a victim, he looks to me like Rafael Palmerio.

    4. While I understand wanting to have kids and how hard it can be to get pregnant, it is also a fact that he already had kids prior, so the we are trying so hard to have kids sounds more like an excuse.

    5. While it might not be fair that a fertility drug he wants to use is on the banned list and could impact his ability to have kids, he chooses to play football. Nobody is forcing him to do that. There are people that have restrictions on them in all sorts of jobs, why should he be any different.

  32. Seems he took it for no reason. 10 days and his wife’s prego? It’s takes 45 days for a typical woman to even think she might be prego. Even if they were checking early, since he’s a millionaire and can afford it, no way you know that quick. Fool!

  33. It takes more than one violation to reach the suspension stage of NFL PED discipline. Maybe his agent should address the previous violations instead of focusing only on this one. Maybe his suspension is the result of annual attempts to get his wife pregnant.

  34. I don’t know, or much care, about the specifics of this case. For all I know this guy took the drug for an illegitimate purpose.

    But it IS misleading for the NFL to refer to the FDA drug label as though it is a legal standard. I’m an attorney who works in health law, and in my experience a lot of people don’t understand that off-label prescribing is a normal, expected part of American medicine. It is neither unethical nor illegal, so long as the physician follows the standard of care (which is different from the label.) The reason for this is that new research happens all the time on how already approved drugs can be used, and since FDA approval is a long process with lots of red-tape it is inefficient to re-submit drugs for reapproval for each newly discovered use.

    In fact, there are drugs out there in common use today that are almost never used in accordance with the FDA label.

  35. No one is talking about it being a second failed test because there wasn’t one. If it is for PED’s then you get suspended right away. If it was weed, the suspension comes after a 2nd failed test.

  36. Seems pretty defensive. Rules seem pretty clear despite whatever reason a player has.

  37. Quit while you’re not ahead. It’s too late to protect your player. Could have done something sooner, not now. Mathis should fire him, really.

  38. I’m sick of Roger Goodell and his fake concern for player safety.

    Roger loves having power over the players, handing down punishment as he sees fit, according to Roger’s Rules.

  39. If the agent had dealt with this before then he knew it was banned so why didn’t he or Mathis get an exemption prior to the use, especially since he had supposedly got an exemption for the same drug for another one of his clients for the same usage previously. Seems Mathis was shady about using it and a lot of this could have been resolved with a better proactive agent as opposed to one who fights on the back side of and argument.

  40. Agents/lawyers are supposed to protect their clients, not make them look even more guilty than they already are. We all despise Roger Goodell, but we’re merely fans. The agent is a representative of an NFL player, so attacking the commissioner was just plain stupid. Epic epic fail by Hadley Englehard. I hope he gets sanctioned and has his license revoked.

  41. Obvious facts:

    1. Mathis took steroids last year and it gave his preformaance a tremendous boost.

    2. Following his steroid use, he took a banned drug that masks steroid use after a cycle of taking steroids. Agent says 10-12 days, who who knows how long Mathis took the masking agent.

    3. NFL drug test caught the drug use.

    4. NFL applied the rule agreed upon by the NFLPA and the NFL in the CBA.

    5. Agent is trying to spin this as the NFL is wrong to enforce the CBA. No one with half a brain is buying it, but that might not be a bad thing for the agent. Maybe he hopes to get new steroid-using clients by showing how staunchly he defends steroid users.

  42. I think it may have been a legitimate use (he MIGHT have really needed it), and I do agree that getting into FDA approval can be misleading. Contrary to other commenters, a lot of first line drugs weren’t FDA approved for their new uses. Especially once a drug goes generic, no one is paying to get it approved for anything new.

    But none of it matters, he took it, he wasn’t supposed to. Kind of a done deal isn’t it?

  43. Mathis is one of two things:
    Steroid abuser that got caught.
    I very unintelligent human that did not understand the employment contract that he signed.

  44. Let’s pretend for a minute that he really needed to take it…now why would you need to take a fertility drug that increases your testosterone in order to make babies? Are you telling me a professional athlete in the prime of his life has low-T?

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