It has come to this. A journey that began in 2011 with the signing of the new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association has led us through Deflategate, two separate court decisions, and now drops us in a world where uncorroborated allegations made through Al Jazeera are used to pressure Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers into “voluntary” interviews with the league.
It’s pure insanity. This is the same report that implicated Peyton Manning last season and was discredited by almost all media outlets, including the NFL. Now that Peyton and his giant forehead have ridden off into the sunset, the report is being dragged back out into the light of day to railroad players that aren’t as beloved by the league (and in James Harrison’s case, are probably straight up despised).
The NFL has become a farce, and it all started with the new CBA that gave Goodell an absurd amount of power over the league and the players, even though the NFLPA was under absolutely no pressure to give up that power. It’s like if a guy was stealing your wallet and you offered him the keys to your car as well, I just don’t get it. As Rodgers said, “we have no one to blame but ourselves.”
Now Chris Mortensen is reporting that all four implicated players (Harrison, Matthews, Peppers, and Neal) have agreed to meet with NFL investigators. So what should their strategy be? I think it’s pretty simple: deny, deny, deny. Speaking to Matthews and Peppers specifically, I have three reasons for that strategy: you’re not under oath, you have no reason to implicate yourself, and our defense is gonna be awful if you get suspended. Without Peppers and Matthews, our pass rush would essentially be non-existent. We’d be losing over a sack per game and giving opposing QBs even more time to make big plays downfield, which is clearly our Achille’s heel since Dom Capers defensive strategy still exists in a time before QBs threw forward passes or had really any athletic ability whatsoever.
We need individual talent on the defensive side of the ball because obviously the system doesn’t work. Hopefully either Matthews or Peppers will say something in their interviews that implicates Capers in a murder so we can finally get him off our team and have a defensive coordinator that doesn’t still refer to WWI as “The Great War.”
My gut feeling is that there isn’t enough hard evidence to implicate any of these players in PED use, at least not to the point where the league will suspend them. But in Goodell’s NFL, who knows what could happen.