You may not have noticed, because I scheduled my usual slate of articles ahead of time, but I took advantage of the dead time that we find ourselves in prior to the start of training camp to have a bit of a vacation. As such, while I have seen the news in the interim, I haven’t had an opportunity to comment on them, and I would like to do so now.
While I was away, the Pittsburgh Steelers released long-time veteran tight end Matt Spaeth after failing a physical stemming from offseason knee surgery. We also learned during the past week that running back Le’Veon Bell is reportedly facing a four-game suspension after apparently failing to report for multiple drug tests. It is the latter I would like to comment on first.
I have to say that I am among the individuals who bought into all of Bell’s interviews and proclamations since originally owning up to his first suspension stemming from a DUI arrest two years ago. He gave an interview in which he expressed a seemingly strong resolve to abstain from using marijuana during his playing career.
If the report is indeed true that he has failed to report for multiple drug tests, then we know that his public demeanor has been little more than a façade. It was not long ago that he expressed surprise after being told by a reporter that there was a rumor that he had failed to report for a drug test, and many of us dismissed the rumor.
Perhaps I’m more naïve that I choose to believe, but I placed my faith in Bell’s sincerity, and in the strength of his conviction, but that appears to have been for naught, provided that the report indeed proves to be true.
Though I suppose I can little imagine an athlete admitting to a charge before it has even been officially revealed, it is still somewhat jarring to look back on previous statements to find that they are outright lies, especially if you were one to have bought into them, and that is the camp in which I find myself with Bell.
Though professional athletes should certainly not be held to a high standard as beacons of virtuous behavior—they are, after all, predominantly young men who in a short period of time came from a background of poverty or modest living to sudden wealth—there is certainly an erosion of trust whenever an athlete is found to have lied.
It is not entirely certain as of yet if that is the case with Bell, but we should know sooner rather than later, and if it is indeed true, how unfortunate it will be for himself, for his reputation, and for the Steelers and their future working relationship.
Bell has now marked himself as a liability, with another slip finding him serving an indefinite suspension, like his teammate, Martavis Bryant, is currently serving, and that will certainly have an impact on his future, and where that future might be lived.