Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis will serve a four-game suspension to open the regular season after testing positive for a substance banned under the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
That suspension is the standard for a first violation of the policy, but Davis thinks that one size fits all is the wrong way to go when issuing discipline. Davis was named the 2014 NFL Man of the Year in recognition of his community work and he thinks that a player’s history should factor into the punishment.
“The NFL has a tough job on their hands when you think about assessing fines, assessing punishment for certain things,” Davis said, via ESPN.com. “I mean, you would like to think they would take into consideration the player and what the guy has done over his career, but that’s not a part of what goes into it. Ultimately, the rules says we’re responsible for what we put in our bodies. I’ve just got to do a better job of understanding what’s in the things I’m taking.”
There are disciplinary decisions in the NFL that do offer room for discretion, but performance-enhancing substances wouldn’t seem to be a good place for them if an equal playing field is the goal. Allowing some players to use banned substances without the same threat of penalty would leave the league with multiple sets of rules that hinge on matters other than the offense in question.