The NFL unveiled its latest team of the decade on Monday. And one name stands out, for reasons that are far from ideal.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson made the team, even though he was suspended for six games of the 2019 season for violating the PED policy, in two ways. First, he tested positive for a PED. Second, he tested positive for a masking agent aimed at covering up PED use.
Although the league names the all-decade team, the six-game suspension did not disqualify Peterson. The provision barring players who violate the PED policy from any league-awarded honors like the Pro Bowl applies only to the year in which the suspension is imposed. It doesn’t block the player from awards covering multiple seasons.
Still, as Simms argued during Tuesday’s PFT Live, Peterson’s violation should have caused the voters (the Hall of Fame selectors) to take a dimmer view of his achievements. The fact that he used both a PED and a masking agent suggests that it wasn’t the first time he cheated and then tried to cover up the cheating. It’s possible, if not likely, that he had been successfully covering up PED use until the testing caught up with the masking agent and exposed the ruse.
Was it two years? Three years? His entire career? Should Peterson get the benefit of the doubt?
Arguably, he shouldn’t. Arguably, the all-decade honor should have gone to someone who hasn’t cheated and then tried to cover up the cheating.
It’s just another example of the reaction from most fans and media to football players who use PEDs. Most people have come to accept it as part of the effort to recover from the weekly grind or otherwise compete in a sport premised on physical violence.
Regardless, the players who don’t use PEDs should be upset that others with a track record of cheating and then trying to cover up the cheating receive awards for performances that, at a minimum, fall under a thick cloud of suspicion.