It was near the end of Jim Harbaugh’s press conference today that the coach of the San Francisco 49ers was asked about the recent rash of performance-enhancing drug suspensions for his NFC West rivals in Seattle.
The Seahawks lost defensive end Bruce Irvin to a four-game suspension for the start of this coming season, meaning he will miss the Week 2 meeting between clubs. Irvin was the sixth player to fail a drug test in the last two years in Seattle and the fifth to be suspended as cornerback Richard Sherman won a successful appeal.
“Is there concern? I’ve definitely noticed it,” Harbaugh said, according to the transcript provided by the 49ers. “You don’t know what it is. Even when people say what it is, you don’t know that that’s what it is. For this, throw it out, or it’s that. But, that’s usually the agents of the players themselves saying it’s, for example Adderall. But, the NFL doesn’t release what it actually is. So, you have no idea. You’re taking somebody at their word, that I don’t know that you can take them at their word, understanding the circumstances.”
So, basically Harbaugh is saying you have no way of knowing if players are guilty of testing positives for steroids when Adderall (a common claim by players the last several years) is blamed. That’s a not so subtle reminder that no one knows what the offending Seahawks players have been suspended for, a result of the NFL’s mandate for privacy.
“(Banned substances have) no place in an athlete’s body,” Harbaugh said. “Play by the rules. And you always want to be above reproach. Especially when you’re good, because you don’t want people to come back and say, they’re winning because they’re cheating. And that’s always going to be a kneejerk reaction by people, I’ve found in my experience ever since I was a little kid. So, we want to be above reproach in everything, and do everything by the rules. Because if you cheat to win, then you’ve already lost, ccording to Bo Schembechler. And Bo Schembechler is about next to the word of God as you can get in my mind. It’s not the word of God, but it’s close.”
There you go.
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune