USA Today – Test positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and you can be the Super Bowl MVP.
By his play on the field, Julian Edelman was fully deserving of the honor Sunday night. …
Yet you can argue that Edelman shouldn’t even have been on the field. 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.
It’s been seemingly forgotten now, but the wide receiver missed the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing substance policy. In Major League Baseball, that also would have meant he’d be ineligible for the postseason. …
If he took a shortcut or two along the way, so be it. In the NFL’s eyes, all was forgiven long ago.
Let me tell you a story about an athlete. He’s an underdog. Drafted late, assigned to a position he’d never played before. He’s small for the position and constantly compared to the legend he replaced. But when he gets his chance, he excels. He’s popular among his teammates, fans and opponents. He wins a championship with one of the greatest plays of all time. Then, he gets hurt. He misses an entire year. And just when his team needs him back, he tests positive for an “unrecognizable substance.” Either intentionally or through no fault of his own, he misses a quarter of the season, thereby letting his team down when they need him. But they make the playoffs. And he plays incredibly well throughout and carries his team to victory. The end.
If you think that would be seen as a redemption story, the sort of instructive, moral tale of believing-in-yourselfism and not-giving-up-on-your-dreamishness that inspires Mike Lupica YA novels, you better think again. All this story does is confirm … something. That the NFL endorses PED usage? The Patriots are still the Cheatriots? Julian Edelman is being unfair to Barry Bonds? He’s a bad example for all those families down in Disney World? All of the above?
All I know is that it’s triggered the easily triggered. Self-righteous guardians of fairness and justice everywhere have been clutching their pearls and flopping onto their fainting couches and wondering why, oh why aren’t we thinking of the children?
If people have a problem with Bonds – or Roger Clemens or Sammy Sosa for that matter – not being in the Hall of Fame, I have a simple solution. One that’s just crazy enough to work. Put them in the Hall of Fame. Get your moralizing purist heads out of your asses and vote for them. Then rest. And watch the sunrise on a grateful universe. I mean, John Henry’s Boston Globe is upset about Edelman’s MVP, while his baseball team just signed reliever Jenrry Mejia, fresh off reinstatement after a lifetime ban for getting popped three times, before the age of 30. And guess what? The world survived. The rivers aren’t running backwards. I drove by a cemetery this morning and the dead seem to still be where we left them. And life goes on as it was, even though a guy who served a 4-game suspension in September won a Super Bowl MVP in February.
But go ahead. Call Edelman a cheater. Yet again. Try diminishing what he accomplished. Say he doesn’t deserve it. Part of me was worried the country would get too positive about this team. That they’d have earned too much respect and even … dare I say it? … love:d
I’m glad to see I was wrong. Bring it on. Let the hate flow through you. Try to strike Julian Edelman down and he’ll be more powerful than you can possibly imagine.