During fantasy drafts all across the country, drafters passed up on Ray Rice.
They let Dwayne Bowe go either undraftedor go in the 16th round, Wes Welker drop to double digits and ignored Josh Gordon all together.
This NFL season will begin Thursday night with more than 32 players, yes, 32, suspended for at least one game. In fact, those 32 players will be forced to surrender their pay for more than 160 games, or 10 seasons worth of games.
If you add players who received fines during the preseason, more than $19 million will be paid from the players to the NFL for violations of codes of conduct, or play on the field unbecoming of an NFL player.
The vast majority of these suspensions is due to substance abuse, or violation of the league’s drug policy. Which makes it evident that players seem undeterred by the threat of missing games or even losing hard earned cash — they are still trying to get a leg up.
It’s a game that demands so much from a man that athletes not only risk their lives, they risk their livelihoods just to get that half second quicker, or that extra 20 pounds of muscle.
The number of drug-related violations (many of which are marijuana related) is more than 60% higher that before the 2013 season.
“The players believe that neutral arbitration for all cases under the drug policy is important for players of today and tomorrow,” Brian Waters, a former Pro Bowl guard and member of the NFLPA’s executive committee, told NJ.com “Currently, the NFL has taken the position that NFL players should not be able to appeal to a neutral arbitrator in cases when there is not a positive test.”
Which begs the question: Is there a drug problem in the NFL? or a problem with the rules?
Players in the NFL average a career just under three seasons. They have a limited amount of time they can make big bucks and play the game they love.
These are heros to kids across the world, and their conduct should be held to a higher standard, whether you agree with the drug policy or not. Players who can’t abstain from smoking pot, or dabbling in steroids for the relatively brief time they are lucky enough to have an NFL locker don’t deserve to play the great American game.
Follow Metro Philadelphia sports editor Evan Macy on Twitter @evan_macy