Welcome back to As The Bell Turns.
So here’s where we currently stand.
Le’Veon Bell has reportedly been suspended by the NFL for four games after missing “multiple” drug tests. Yesterday morning, Bell took to Instagram in now-deleted comments to say he was going to win his appeal. Stan Savran said on his radio show yesterday afternoon the reason for the missed tests was due to Bell changing his phone number.
Now it’s up to the appeals panel to determine if Bell’s excuse, if that is it, is valid. And Mark Dominik, a former GM who now works for ESPN, doesn’t think it’s going to work.
Dominik jumped on Sirus XM Radio to discuss the back’s situation. And though he says he hopes Bell wins, he doesn’t believe it’s likely. It all circles back to needing to make an effort to notify the league of any changes to location or contact information.
“It doesn’t matter,” Dominik said regarding the idea of Bell getting a new phone. “Because Bell has to notify the league office when there’s any change.”
“He feels comfortable he may win it. I don’t feel as confident because it’s up to his responsibility. He’s the one who put himself in the program. He’s the one who has to make sure that anytime there’s any kind of question mark, you have to notify [the league]. In terms of changes to cell phone, address, location, anything that is out of the ordinary, we need to know.”
Dominik concluded by saying he “still thinks it’s going to be very hard” for Bell to get his suspension reversed.
It’s a very reasonable stance and one I agree with. I’m sure the league expects players to make a reasonable effort to notify them of any changes to status or contact info. If the reported stories are true and Bell missed multiple, meaning there was a decent span of time where Bell forgot to tell the league, his case is severely diminished.
And if that’s what happened, shame on his agent for not doing his job and making sure his player has taken care of the things he needs to do to comply.
The only upshot here is that if the Steelers believe that Bell didn’t skip a test because he knew he was going to fail, it could repair his long-term outlook with the team. It’s just as disappointing in the present, missing four games over a silly clerical mistake, but more tolerable for the future if that’s all it was – a failure to notify. Certainly better than Bell actually getting caught with drugs again, as the Dallas Cowboys are currently dealing with Randy Gregory.
It wouldn’t guarantee that Bell has a long-term future in Pittsburgh but it would open what was thought to be a shut door.