I see profootballtalk.com has decided to go Moe Howard on the 18 Associated Press voters who had the audacity to have an opinion that wasn't shared and approved by profootballtalk.com.
The nerve of some people.
As one of those 18 voters who did indeed cast my revote for Brian Cushing as NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, I guess I should try to answer some of the angrier points made in this post.
I've already defended my position in a column Wednesday morning and in a post yesterday. But, hey, it's a new day and NFL sites need something to rant about on May 13. So I'll pluck excerpts from the post and give my reaction (knowing full well that to most people there's only two opinions: their opinion and the wrong opinion).
PFT: The backlash started last night, when Austin Murphy of Sports Illustrated threw off the gloves and targeted the band of sportswriters who opted not to ban Cushing from receiving the honor. "Memo to 18 AP voters who let Brian Cushing keep his award, despite clear PED use: you should be drug-tested yourselves," Murphy said via Twitter. (Me: Murphy added another line I'm not sure I can blog because of the adjective he used to describe the word "joke.")
Me: Just tell me where to pee, Murph. If you're looking for drugs, I'm clean. If you're looking for Corona Light, there might be an issue. Secondly, define the word "clear." Clear can be a report that cites an unnamed source that gets repeated into fact 9.3 million times a day on ESPN. I'm not saying the report isn't accurate. But it's amazing how quickly this whole situation got pounded into cold, hard lock-him-up-and-throw-away-the-award fact without either the NFL or Cushing explaining themselves. How about the league giving us details when things like this happen? How bout the league telling us why it took nine months to go from positive to punishment in a state other than Minnesota. I looked at that massive gap of time and decided, IF THE LEAGUE'S VERY OWN SYSTEM COULDN'T PUNISH CUSHING IN 2009, I'M NOT GOING TO PUNISH HIM RETROACTIVELY IN 2010. SORRY, NOT MY JOB.
PFT: Vic Ketchman of Jaguars.com was more tactful, but just as powerful. "The message is that what Cushing did is no big deal," Ketchman writes. "The message is that a lot of sportswriters believe that what Cushing did is nothing more than what a lot of other players do, and that message greatly disappoints me. This kid had the look coming out of college. Everybody knew it but we all turned our back on it. The use of performance-enhancing drugs sickens me. It is, in my opinion, the ultimate in cheating.
Me: C'mon, Vic. Really? Are we really going to go down the "This kid had the look ..." road? Are we two drunks sitting at the bar? I REFUSE to judge a person based on "the look" or the fact that a billion websites argue that everybody knows he's a steroid abuser, yet has no proof. I guess I'm old enough to remember when not all rumors were fact. And I guess I'm not smart enough to pick which ones are fact. So I won't try, no matter how many people repeat the rumor. Secondly, it is a big deal. But the league's drug policy is so complicated and convoluted, we're left trying to guess which players are actually cheating, which players took a masking agent to cover up cheating, which players mistakenly took a masking agent because they wanted to lose weight. Again, the league needs to tell us who did what EXACTLY. If a positive test and punishment now constitutes the voters going back and stripping a player of his award, then we also have to go back and take Kevin Williams' 2008 All-Pro award away. Hey, he was pinched in 2008, yet won't be punished until 2010. One can argue that voters knew about Williams' positive test before they voted in 2008. WELL, I CAN ARGUE THAT VOTERS IN 2008 DIDN'T KNOW THAT IN 2010 WE'D BE ESTABLISHING A WHOLE NEW SET OF RULES.
PFT: Said Howard Balzer from the SportsXchange and the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, who didn't revote for Cushing: "Everyone that voted for Cushing originally should have considered one thing and one thing only before re-voting: If he had been suspended last season would we have voted for him? That answer is probably obvious, especially because the missed games would have impacted his production. This should have been easy. It makes no sense."
Me: Sorry, Howard, but what makes no sense to me is basing an argument on the words "IF HE HAD BEEN SUSPENDED LAST SEASON ..." Well, he wasn't suspended last season. So why in the world would I use that to base my decision on? We can't rewrite the history of the 2009 season. If we do that, then Brad Childress gets to have 11 men in the huddle and Brett Favre gets to limp for the first down. It's up to the league to remove a player from the field. If the player isn't removed from the field, I'm going to assume there wasn't justification at that point to punish him. I'll stick to the simple act of judging what happens on the field and let the league police its own players. Secondly, in 2002 Julius Peppers won the same award during the same season he was suspended for four games. I didn't have a vote in 2002. I don't know what I would have done. But I don't understand how we could strip Cushing of his award and not also strip Peppers.
PFT: We know that at least 18 members of the sportswriting community, including our good friend Tom Curran, may not appreciate our message or the manner in which we're delivering it. When we take a hard stand on an issue like this, we do it because we believe it's important to be willing to point out from time to time that the emperor is unwittingly riding down the street butt-naked on a horse.
Me: Sometimes, profootballtalk.com isn't the only one who gets to take a hard stand. If name-calling makes people feel better, by all means go ahead.