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Julian Edelman hides behind “league rules” to avoid discussing PED suspension

NBC Sports logo NBC Sports 2/11/2019 Mike Florio
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Patriots receiver Julian Edelman ended the season with the Super Bowl LIII MVP award. He started the season with a four-game PED suspension.

And Edelman consistently refuses to discuss any of the details related to whatever it was that caused him to violate the policy against the use of performance enhancers.

People don’t know what happened,” Edelman told Peter King of Football Morning in America. “I can’t sit here and [due to] the league rules say what happened.”

That’s simply not true. The confidentiality provision of the PED policy protects the player; if the player chooses to waive his confidentiality rights, he can. If he wants to talk about the circumstances leading to the positive, he’s entitled to.

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Waiving confidentiality comes with a risk, however. As revised in the aftermath of the current CBA, the PED policy permits the NFL’s Management Council to disclose information in order to “correct public claims made by [the] Player or his representatives about the discipline.”

In past years, players could claim whatever they wanted to claim, and the league could say nothing. Now, if the player offers a BS excuse or explanation for a positive PED test, the league has the right to call BS. Here, the BS comes from the basis for Edelman’s refusal to talk.

Technically, the league could call BS on that, if it wants. But the NFL likely doesn’t want to tarnish the Super Bowl MVP by issuing a statement that Edelman has made an incorrect public claim about his inability to discuss the PED violation.

King also asked Edelman if he believes the suspension was unjust.

“I’m not going down that road,” Edelman said. “I served what I had to serve and I accept that. I know a lot of people were disappointed in me for it. I apologize. It’ll never happen again.”

It’s hard to know whether what precisely happened last year will happen again without knowing what did happen in the first place. And apparently we never will.

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