Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Weekend Winner: A Brand New PED Excuse

Illustration for article titled Weekend Winner: A Brand New PED Excuse

In sports, everyone is a winner-some people just win better than others. Like our nation's poor, overtrained athletes like Brian Cushing, who says he flunked his drug test only because he worked out so hard.


We've heard an awful lot of excuses from athletes about why they tested positive for this or that substance. I didn't know what I was taking. It wasn't labeled correctly. I was trying to get pregnant (or whatever Manny Ramirez said). But this is a new one.

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair is meeting with Roger Goodell today, appealing LB Brian Cushing's four-game suspension for suspected PED usage. The explanation they're going with: something called "overtrained athlete syndrome."

Supposedly, when an athlete works out long and hard for a period of time, and then suddenly stops, his body's hCG levels spike. (Human chorionic gonadotropin, what Cushing tested positive for, is usually used as part of a steroid cycle to jumpstart testosterone levels.)

Everything points to that overtrained athlete syndrome,'' Cushing said, walking back to the Texans' locker room after their afternoon practice. "I'm pretty sure it is. I'm pretty positive. I didn't take anything. It's not a tainted supplement. So all roads lead to that.''

Well, no, Brian. No roads lead to that. Remember how Cushing tested positive last September? It's highly unlikely (and would actually reflect worse on him than taking steroids) that at the end of training camp, just as he was about to play his first NFL games, he decided to stop working out.

Besides, from the scant research that exists on overtrained athlete syndrome, the primary symptom appears to be "sudden and profound chronic fatigue." There's a lot of text on that page, but I didn't find "winning rookie of the year" as a secondary symptom.


It seems like Cushing's continuing to flail for a reason that doesn't involve him taking steroids. First, it was him deciding he must have had a tumor. (That makes him no better than the Canadian woman accused of faking cancer to raise money for herself.)

Then, according to the Houston Chronicle, Cushing "traveled the country visiting specialists...hoping to find a doctor who can prove hCG was produced naturally in his body." It's a year later, and he apparently hasn't found a doctor willing or able to back him up on that.


Let it go, Brian. This is the NFL. No one cares about steroids. If they did, they wouldn't have voted you ROY a second time, even after your failed test was made public. We'd be pleasantly surprised if Cushing quietly made it known to the league that he's not going to fight his suspension, because the positive test was caused by him taking performance enhancing drugs.

That'd be an explanation we haven't heard before.