The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Professional athletes continue to cheat—and fail at it


Another professional athlete suspended for cheating. And another reason to wonder what goes through these players’ minds on a daily basis.

On Thursday, Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata became the latest athlete disciplined for performance-enhancing drug use.

The nine-year veteran was handed a four-game suspension for taking Adderall, a drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall is considered a performance-enhancing drug and is banned in professional sports. Numerous athletes have tested positive for this drug in recent years, and have been suspended for it. So why do athletes like Ngata keep thinking they can get away with it? Your guess is as good as mine.

Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis and Ravens cornerback Asa Jackson have also received similar suspensions in the past for Adderall use. Davis received a 25-game suspension at the end of the 2014 season, causing him to miss the Orioles’ playoff run to the ALCS. Jackson received a four-game ban the year the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012, before being suspended eight games in 2013 for a second offense. The only result these athletes have received from the drug is costly suspensions.

Here’s the headscratcher: Adderall is permitted in professional sports with league approval. Only when a player uses the drug without league authorization is he suspended. So what is so hard about getting this authorization?

After his second suspension, Jackson finally completed the required paperwork, and is now permitted to take Adderall. How hard was that? If an athlete doesn’t seek league approval, and instead takes the drug in secret, then it looks like he doesn’t really have ADHD and is simply abusing the drug to increase his concentration and reaction time on the field, which are some of the benefits the drug offers.

Ngata was having arguably the best season of his career, with 31 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, two interceptions and a career-high seven pass deflections. I guess now we know why. If you have ADHD, go to the league office and get the paperwork done. Don’t take Adderall without authorization when you know it will get you suspended and cost your team.

It is mind-boggling enough that Ngata took this drug when so many players before him have been caught and suspended. But what’s even more maddening is that he did this in the midst of a tumultuous season for the Ravens with the aftermath of the Ray Rice incident. The Ravens’ PR department is still dealing with finger-pointing from Ray and Janay Rice regarding the team’s handling of the situation, and now it must deal with the Ngata suspension. What could have possibly made Ngata think that breaking the NFL’s substance-abuse policy was a bright idea with everything else going on? Think, Haloti. Think.

I understand that people make mistakes. But when it’s something like this—when simply getting authorization would’ve allowed him to take the drug without penalty—it is unforgivable. Similar to the Orioles’ Davis, Ngata will miss the rest of the regular season with the team fighting for a playoff spot. Without their best defensive player, don’t expect the Ravens to be playing football in January. It was starting to look like the Ravens would make the playoffs despite the Rice distraction. Thanks a lot, Ngata.

Maybe it’s time to increase the penalty for first-time offenders. These guys still make millions of dollars, and what’s so bad about a four-game vacation from a violent sport? These guys get paid just to play a game; it’s time to hold them accountable. You’d think these athletes would get it, but they don’t. And some of them never will.

(photo via)

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Greyhound Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Professional athletes continue to cheat—and fail at it