The NFL has long gotten a free pass on the whole steroid issue. Rafael Palmeiro is a cancer on his sport, but Shawne Merriman gets a really cool Michael Mann Nike ad. And now Roger Goodell is just throwing it in your face.

Who's on the cover of the new Spanish language version of Madden 08? Why, confessed steroid user Luis Castillo!

Luis Castillo was an All-American defensive linemen while at Northwestern, but during his senior season he suffered a severe elbow injury that nagged him the entire season. He opted not to take a medical redshirt, and as the NFL Combine got closer he was scared that he wouldn't perform up to the level he was capable of. So, he used the steroid, androstenedione, for a short while and was able to put up 32 reps at 225lbs at the combine. However, he also tested positive for the steroid there, and instantly had to go on the defensive. All 32 teams knew of his failed test, but San Diego still took him with the 28th pick of the 2005 draft.

Here is what Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel had to say about it at the time: "It sends a terrible message,'' Vrabel said. "He cheats. He cheated the system and got away with it."

Not just that, but Merriman is the cover athlete for EA's NFL Tour. We know Roger Goodell doesn't make Madden cover choices, but come on now. We'd be pretty surprised to see Rick Ankiel on the cover of any games next year. (Not that it's stopping us from creating a Sims version of him. Hi, Rick!)

Is That Really The Best Player For This? [The Sports Oasis]