The AP wants to reclaim Brian Cushing's Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, because giving prizes to drug cheats makes them look foolish. Almost as foolish as calling takebacks on meaningless post-season awards.

It seems that "many" members of the Associated Press are cross with the young man who has turned out to not be the morally upright citizen they were led to believe. If only they'd known ahead of time that the young NFL linebacker was a convicted user, they could have voted for him with a clear conscience.

Lou Ferrara, AP's managing editor for sports and entertainment, says, "This is the first time we've encountered an issue like this. Because these awards are based on on-field performance, we consider it necessary to review the matter." That would be a good point, except that it's not true. Julius Peppers received Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2002, despite being suspended four games during that season for taking a banned supplement. After winning the same award in 2005, Shawne Merriman was also suspended for the following season—and then finished third in the 2006 Defensive Player of the Year voting despite missing the four games.

The AP would probably argue that, unlike with Cushing, voters cast their ballots with full knowledge of the suspensions and how they might have affected that player's season. Which makes those previous votes all the more galling. If Merriman tested positive for PEDs between the 2005 and 2006 season, wouldn't it logically follow that his previous year would be the one most effected by any shenanigans? And Peppers was suspended mid-season. No one at the AP considered the first 12 games of that career to be suspicious? You'd think anyone who failed any test would have all of their previous accomplishments called into question, yet no one has ever attempted to rescind any past honors. (Unless you're an Olympic athlete, in which case your blood and medals are apparently never safe.)

Despite the fact that Cushing failed his drug test in the first month of the season and even took (and passed) a lie detector test in his defense, the AP still wants to re-vote his ROY and his second-team All-Pro selection, even though he clearly was the most deserving player and the NFL did let him on the field. Cushing will still be ineligible for any post-seasons awards next year—thank you, Merriman Rule!—awards he would clearly have won since AP voters obviously have no problem giving accolades to guys who have been suspended for drugs.


If fact, there's still a possibility that Cushing will win the re-vote, despite being considered a "cheater." Sportswriter John McClain says he'll vote for him again and others might, as well. Granted, McLain covers the Texans and couldn't be more biased, but he does make the valid point that Minnesota's Kevin Williams, who the league has been trying to suspend for two years, made first-team All-Pro. Also, who remembers or cares about the All-Pro team? The only Defensive Rookies of the Year I could ever name off the top of my head would be ... Peppers and Merriman.

Sadly, McLain isn't helping the cause by praising Cushing's insane practice efforts and aversion to injuries, because, hello ... that's what steroids are for.

Brian Cushing of Houston Texans might lose Associated Press award [ESPN]
IOC retesting Turin 2006 samples for CERA [Yahoo]