In what he says is the only time he’ll speak on the matter, Le’Veon Bell posted videos to his Twitter and Instagram account, issuing an apology and explaining what happened that led up to his suspension.
Bell’s suspension was reduced from four to three games following a settlement between the union and league today.
After apologizing to Steelers’ Nation for not being available for the first three weeks of the season, he briefly runs through the circumstances that surrounded his missed tests.
In total, he says he missed three tests. Two of them came in December and January, shortly after he underwent knee surgery to repair a torn MCL and PCL. He says he was unable to meet the league to conduct them and the league was unable to come to him, thus the miss. Bell took responsibility for it, saying “it’s on me.”
A third missed test came in April of this year after he slept through a 5:37 AM appointment.
There is no mention of a change in phone number despite initial reports from several weeks ago which claimed it to be the case. He did not respond to his June comments when he told reporters he hadn’t missed any drug tests.
Bell was adamant that he never failed a test and hasn’t smoked since December of 2014.
To his credit, Bell appears candid and sincere in his apology, a stark contrast to how he’s used social media since the initial reports came out. He had protected his Twitter account and responded to fans in the comment’s sections in late July, claiming he wouldn’t miss any time.
He concludes his video by claiming to be a better person from this circumstances.
“After this whole situation is done, you’ll get a better person and a better player out of it.”
His future with the Steelers is unclear, and an apology doesn’t wipe out the time he’ll miss, but it’s a positive start.
UPDATE: It appears Bell has deleted the post from Twitter and Instagram. Dave Bryan transcribed what he said.
“This is Le’Veon Bell, running back from the Pittsburgh Steelers and I obviously want to clear some things up. First and foremost, I want to apologize to Steelers Nation for everything I’ve put you guys through the last couple of years. it’s been a frustrating run for you, it’s been a frustrating run for me and I’m genuinely sorry for not being on the field and being available for you guys and helping the Steelers win ring No. 7.
I’m not the perfect person, I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m the perfect person. I’ve made mistakes, but I want you guys to understand I never purposefully missed any drug test. I’ve never failed any drug tests. I haven’t smoked since December 2014 I want you guys to understand that. All of the drug tests are random.
I got surgery in November of last year, they tried to test me in December and January and I missed those tests. I couldn’t go to the facility to get tested, they couldn’t come to me and get tested and I missed those tests and that’s on me. I put all of the blame on myself. “In April, they tried to test me on a Saturday morning at 5:37 a.m., I ended up missing the test, I was sleeping and that’s on me.
I can’t sit here and blame anyone else for missing my tests, but I just want everybody to understands I never purposely tried to avoid or evade any drug tests. I don’t have any problems. After this whole situation’s done, you will get a better person and a better player out of this and its still Steeler Nation.”
Here is a saved version of Bell’s video.
— Steelers Depot (@Steelersdepot) August 19, 2016