For once, the most absurd anti-Patriots take doesn’t belong to Max Kellerman or Rob Parker. Though they both tried to rip Tom Brady in the immediate aftermath of his sixth Super Bowl victory –– Parker said Brady still isn’t the GOAT –– they at least acknowledged the right of each Patriots player to play in the game. That may seem like a simple baseline, but some are making the argument Julian Edelman, who came away with the MVP trophy, should have been sidelined due to his PED suspension at the start of the season.
USA Today’s Nancy Armour is leading the proverbial charge, penning an op-ed outlining her ridiculous case. Even though Edelman missed the first four games of the season, which is the collectively bargained punishment for a first-time offender, she thinks the discipline should’ve been harsher.
“You can argue that Edelman shouldn’t even have been on the field,” she writes. “That he should have lost his postseason privileges as part of his punishment for trying to game the system. That his third ring is already tarnished.”
In the NFL, players who are suspended for testing positive for PEDs are eligible for the postseason. That’s no longer the case in MLB, which enacted its new harsher policy in 2014. There’s a double-standard when it comes to how each sports league legislates PED use. This is not breaking new ground.
And yet, MLB Insider Jon Heyman also couldn’t help but invoke the “houlier-than-thou” card. “PED users should not be eligible to play in the Super Bowl the same season they are suspended,” he tweeted Sunday. “NFL summary: Kaepernick blackballed, Edelman glorified.”
New York Times national baseball writer Tyler Kepner also joined the sour grapes charge. “A reminder that in baseball, Julian Edelman would not have been eligible to play in this postseason because he served a PED suspension this season,” he tweeted.
When baseball writers take shots at the NFL, it comes across as the ultimate losers’ lament. Baseball is a decaying sport that has more than 100 unsigned free agents just two weeks away from Spring Training. So in order to take out their apparent frustration, the seamhead scribes lob grenades at the most popular entertainment entity in the country.
We all know the NFL and MLB landscapes are different. In the former, players take skull-crushing hits with regularity and are expected to perform on a weekly basis, or else get cut and lose their non-guaranteed money. Those harsh realities provide an impetus to use PEDs. Edelman was rehabbing from an ACL injury last offseason and presumably took substances to help accelerate his recovery, though he maintains the positive test was a mistake.
Edelman shouldn’t be lauded for breaking the rules, of course, but most understand why football players are granted more leeway with their PED use. Well, except those who are disingenuous.
Edelman’s positive drug test from the summer does not taint his 10-catch, 141-yard performance in Super Bowl LIII. The logic is utterly flawed.