Carolina Panthers

Thomas Davis seems to think he deserves shorter suspension

Thomas Davis will miss the first four games this season due to a performance-enhancing drug suspension, but he thinks his ban should be shorter.

Soon after last season ended, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis planned to retire after the 2018 campaign. But a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy altered that, and the 2014 NFL Man of the Year wants to play in 2019 if the Panthers will have him back.

For a first-time violation of the performance-enhancing drug policy, the standard suspension is four games. Davis is a first-time offender, and he quickly claimed the failed test was triggered by an estrogen blocker he had taken for seven or eight seasons without an issue. On Monday, as the Panthers broke training camp, the three-time Pro Bowler went a little bit further on how the league levies discipline on players.

“The NFL has a tough job on their hands when you think about assessing fines, assessing punishment for certain things,” “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.”

Without directly saying it, Davis insinuated that he deserves less than a four-game suspension. He also took some accountability after, despite the league’s recommendation, never having the team test the substance that led to the ban . But his hidden punch line is clear.

In far less than that many words, Davis is saying “I’ve been a good player, I’ve come back from multiple torn ACLs and I’m a former NFL Man of the Year, so I should get less of a suspension than some nobody on another team.”

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In recent years, the NFL has gotten well-deserved criticism for how it dishes out discipline. But that was with matters of personal conduct or perceived rules violations that came with some level of flimsy evidence, not performance-enhancing drug use where things are more cut-and-dry. So Davis’ words are a reach in an attempt to make himself an exception to concrete, and avoidable, criteria.

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