On Monday, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones prematurely announced that cornerback Orlando Scandrick had been suspended by the NFL for testing positive for a banned substance under their Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) policy. The NFL made it official on Tuesday. Scandrick will now miss the first four games of the regular season and lose over $1 million in salary.
According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, Scandrick was vacationing in Mexico when his ex-girlfriend, reality TV star Draya Michele, persuaded him to place a substance into a cocktail he was drinking. That substance turned out to be MDMA, which is also known as Ecstasy or Molly. Michele claims she never persuaded or drugged Scandrick. And the Cowboys seven-year cornerback has come to her defense and owned up to his mistake via the Dallas Morning News.
“To clear up those rumors, I wasn’t persuaded nor was I drugged. I simply just made a bad choice…It was just a bad decision. I should have never done it. I didn’t do it with the intent of knowing that it would test positive. I know we get random tests but I mean, I don’t take anything to enhance my performance. I wasn’t taking anything to enhance my performance. I was notified that I had to take a test while I was out of the country. I called them and told them I would not be back and I voluntarily gave them my specimen.”
The weird thing is MDMA is not a PED. And, therefore, would fall under the league’s substance abuse policy and not it’s PED policy. Actually, the NFL’s substance abuse policy also carries a far less severe penalty for first time offenders. Unfortunately, the substance Scandrick ingested was laced with amphetamines, which is a banned substance under the PED policy.
Also of note, Scandrick’s positive test for amphetamines was taken back in April. An appeal of the suspension was denied. Although the ingestion of amphetamines taken on game day can enhance an athlete’s abilities, taken in the offseason, it does next to nothing.
Scandrick’s agent, Ron Slavin, claims his client would not have been suspended if the NFL and it’s Player’s Association had previously reached an agreement on HGH testing. Slavin believes the newly proposed changes to the current drug policy would have resulted in Scandrick, as well as many other players, being penalized under the league’s substance abuse policy rather than it’s harsher PED policy.
As for the Cowboys, they will be without the services of their best cornerback for the first four weeks of the regular season. This is terrible news for a Dallas defense that ranked dead last in the NFL in 2013. Now, the pressure will be on former first round pick Morris Claiborne to remain healthy and play well during this suspension period. Scandrick replaced a struggling Claiborne in the starting lineup early on last year and proceeded to record career highs in tackles (64), passes defended (13) and interceptions (2).