The Eagles may not have known that defensive end Michael Bennett was facing a potential suspension when trading for him. The Giants reportedly knew that defensive end Josh Mauro was facing a potential suspension when signing him.
Via Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com, the Giants were aware of the looming PED suspension when signing Mauro to a one-year, $880,000 deal. The problem, of course, is that the sequence of events invites speculation that the Giants were unaware, prompting some to wonder whether the Giants failed to check with the league office about any pending suspensions before signing Mauro.
From a P.R. standpoint, it would have made more sense to delay the signing of the former Cardinal (or at least the announcement of it) until the PED suspension became public — or to accelerate the publication of the PED suspension before signing Mauro. (All he had to do was disclose the suspension on his own a day or two before the Giants leaked or announced the deal.)
Mauro was definitely conscious of P.R. when crafting his predictable “I wasn’t cheating” defense. Via the New York Daily News, here’s the statement Mauro released: “While I take full responsibility for this suspension, I want to clarify that my test showed traces of a banned stimulant from a preworkout supplement bought over the counter. While I didn’t and would never intentionally put anything in my body that was a banned substance, I wholeheartedly honor and respect the NFL’s drug-testing policy and I take full responsibility.”
And so, yet again, the NFL’s PED policy ensnares someone who was innocently trying to improve himself without knowingly crossing the line. Will the league ever catch anyone who actually was trying to cheat?