The NFL can be very polarizing. If you are a fan of the Houston Texas or a fan of USC football, maybe you don’t think the NFL or the Associated Press should strip Brian Cushing’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award for testing positive for PEDs. After all, Shawne Merriman was still named to the Pro Bowl following his positive test.
There is also talk that Lawrence Taylor should be kicked out of the NFL Hall of Fame if he is found guilty of the charges he’s facing involving solicitation of a minor. I can certainly understand that argument.
In both cases the player’s image and the league’s image took a hit. The last thing the NFL needs now is negative publicity, especially after Big Ben’s actions. There is a difference though, and that’s the reason I have differing opinions on the way the honors of Cushing and LT should be treated.
Brian Cushing tested positive in September meaning the actions he took affected his play. Obviously it’s impossible to know which players were using PEDs, but given the facts we know about Cushing he wasn’t playing on a level playing field. Would he have played at such a high level without PEDs? Hard to say, but I know how baseball players are judged when they get caught for the same infraction. Just because we like to see bigger, stronger athletes in football, doesn’t mean they should get a free pass. If you want to maintain the integrity that the NFL is striving for, stripping the award would be a step in the right direction.
As for LT, what he is accused of is awful. Plain and simple. However, it did not have any bearing on what he did on the playing field. The Hall of Fame is a museum that celebrates the best players to ever pull on a helmet, leather or otherwise. Until you go through and remove players like O.J. Simpson, who have been charged with, and found guilty at least civilly, of at the least equally as heinous a crime, you shouldn’t pass that judgement on Taylor. I’m sure all the Hall of Fames have inductees with unsavory pasts. Taylor isn’t the first and won’t be the last.