Once again, the NFL’s PED testing policy has failed to actually catch a deliberate cheater.
The “brand manager” of Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins has issued the perfunctory brand-managing statement indicating that, like pretty much other player who is suspended for a PED violation, Hopkins didn’t deliberately take a PED.
“DeAndre and everyone who works with his is completely shocked by this finding because he is extremely diligent about what he puts in his body,” Doug Sanders said in a test message copied, pasted, and tweeted by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The text from Sanders insists that Hopkins “is committed to demonstrating that he did not knowingly take a banned substance,” and that they are “currently testing every product he used to figure out how this could have happened.”
The “spiked 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 refrain from using spiked supplements can take supplements from the approved list.
Any player who ever tests positive for a PED can claim he took it accidentally. It’s one of the hidden benefits of the strict-liability rule for the presence of PEDs in a test result. It doesn’t matter if you took it accidentally, so a player can always say that he did.
With very rare exceptions, they almost always do.
This doesn’t mean that any one of them is lying. If they’re all telling the truth, well, that means there are plenty of guys who are deliberately taking PEDs and never getting caught.