Once again, the NFL’s PED test policy has failed to catch a deliberate cheater.
Cardinals receiver “brand manager” DeAndre Hopkins has issued the superficial brand-managing statement indicating that, like pretty much every other player suspended for a PED violation, Hopkins has not deliberately taken a PED.
“DeAndre and everyone who works with his is completely shocked by this finding because he is extremely diligent about what he puts into his body, ”Doug Sanders said in a test message copied, pasted and tweeted by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Sanders’ text insists that Hopkins “is obligated to demonstrate that he did not knowingly take a banned substance” and that they are “currently testing every product he used to find out how this could have happened.”
The “pointed supplement” defense is hardly uncommon. But the NFL and NFL Players Association have an approved list of supplements, with the goal of avoiding such mishaps. Players who want to forgo the option of using spiked supplements can take supplements from the approved list.
Any player who ever gets tested positive for a PED can claim he took it by accident. This is one of the hidden benefits of the strict liability rule for the presence of PEDs in a test result. It does not matter if you took it by accident, so a player can always say that he did.
With very rare exceptions, they almost always do.
That does not mean any of them are lying. If they all speak the truth, then it means there are lots of guys who deliberately take PEDs and never get caught.