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The Mystery Behind Julian Edelmans Positive PED Test

October 26, 2018

The Confusing Case Of Julian Edelmans Positive PED Test

Earlier this summer, Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots made headlines for alleged PED use after testing positive for a substance unknown to the NFL. The Pats wide receiver initially contested whether the league had the legal right to suspend him. He even claimed that the NFL mishandled evidence for the case. Nevertheless, the NFL denied Edelmans appeal and served him a four-game suspension. But theres a lot of confusion regarding this case and what really went down. Confusion from fans, the league and depending on your opinion, Edelman himself.

Why the Confusion?

I am very sorry - I dont know what happened, Edelman wrote on his Instagram back in June. Ive taken many, many tests obviously over the course of my career, and nothing like this has ever happened.Julian Edelman PED InstagramIts easy to say that Edelman clearly knew what he was doing - his denial sounds like the typical escape route pro athletes take when theyre caught using banned substances. However, Edelmans case is different. In fact, there are two plausible arguments Edelman has used in his defense.
  1. Edelman tested positive for a substance thats not recognized by NFL drug testers, meaning it cant be on the banned list.
  2. Edelman asserts that the NFL testers mishandled his test results, which isnt farfetched, considering sporting leagues have done so in the past.
Regarding argument one, yes, we know - he shouldnt have used any substance to enhance his performance in the first place. But lets take a deeper look at this.

Not on the List

If we are to look at technicalities, the NFL can only - and this is from a legal perspective - suspend players for taking substances that are on their blacklist. If its not there, a player who tests positive is in the clear. The other issue involves the nature and use of certain substances. For example, Adderall, the stimulant medication used to treat ADHD is banned by almost every sports organization on the planet since it can enhance an athletes cognitive abilities. Yet still, leaked documents in 2016 revealed that Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles was taking Adderall. The kicker for her? She was actually diagnosed with ADHD. But since she has the condition, she along with other athletes who have it, can get a medical waiver allowing them to use the drug. In Edelmans case, the substance he used, which still remains unnamed, could have been used for a rehabilitative purpose considering he missed all of last season due to a torn ACL. Thats pure speculation - perhaps his use of this mysterious substance has nothing to do with his injury. Ultimately, the key point here is that drugs can dwell in a grey area, making it hard to say whether an athlete deliberately doped or not.

NFL at Fault?

Then theres Edelmans second argument - the fact that the league mishandled his case. Although the details behind this claim are somewhat murky, an investigation into Edelmans case revealed that the NFL did make mistakes with how they handled it. We can use Johnnie Cochrans famous line here: If it doesnt fit, you must acquit. Again, were not excusing morally-apprehensive behaviour, but if NFL drug testers made mistakes, they may have damaged or ruined their own credibility.
In fact, a similar situation arose back in 2012 when Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers tested positive for an illegal substance but his suspension was overturned because of errors on the MLBs part.

Edelman Returns

Fortunately for Edelman, hes back on the field and already making some big plays (like he usually does). He can hopefully focus on the future and leave this blunder behind him. As for the rest of us, we may never know what substance Edelman tested positive for and why he took it. If youre a fan of his, all you can do is look past this story and go back to rooting for him.

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