Carroll responds to PED issues

Bruce Irvin is the fifth Seattle player to serve a suspension for PED's in two years

Pete Carroll finally addressed the PED issues today in light of Bruce Irvin’s four-game suspension. He claimed the Seahawks go beyond what the league insists to keep the players on track, to understand their responsibilities. Carroll voiced disappointment and admitted it was serious, but there was no anger in his words. He was philosophical. More like a let-down father than a boss reaching tipping point.

It was typical Carroll-fare. Not that this is a bad thing 99% of the time. Usually the boyish enthusiasm, positive mental attitude and slogans get me as pumped up as a player waiting to run out at Century Link and beat the 49ers 42-13.

However, I just kind of wanted to see a stronger stance today. I wanted to see actions condemned, warnings made. This is five suspensions in two years. Five. The NFL Network is already talking about ‘asterisks’. There’s been so much good work during the Carroll/Schneider era to turn this team into a contender. Too much good work to let it go to waste. Nobody wants to see those efforts undermined. And I guarantee they will be undermined if any more players are suspended for taking PED’s.

You also better believe the league is taking notice, as evidenced by this Tweet:

And just when you want to move on and concentrate on football, the news breaks that Josh Portis has been arrested for a DUI offense.

C’mon man!?

Look, regulars know this isn’t a negative blog. We don’t search out reasons to criticise for the sake of it. I like to think we’re honest and ‘call a spade a spade’. In the last three years there’s not been a great deal to complain about.

However, this isn’t good enough. Too many players are jeopardising their own careers, the success of the collective roster and they are not representing the franchise, the fans and the community in the correct way. Nobody expects to see choir boys. When you put 50-60 guys together on a roster there’s going to be a few issues here and there. Seattle isn’t the only team to experience problems like this. But PED’s and DUI’s are unacceptable and there have simply been too many. When there’s an issue — and there clearly is one here — I want to know there’s a consequence. Stuff like this cannot be taken lightly.

Of course Carroll isn’t totally to blame for a fairly tepid response today. The media didn’t ask one challenging question in the entire press conference. It was an easy ride. I wanted to see a few tough questions thrown in there. Not because I wanted to see Carroll squirm, but because I felt that is what needed to happen. It’s that serious.

– Why do you think so many players on this particular roster been caught taking PED’s?

– Have you upped the stakes in terms of the consequences for the next person who gets caught?

– Have you been disciplined enough with this group? Is that a fair criticism?

– Does there need to be a culture change within certain pockets of the locker room?

In certain situations coaches and GM’s have to be held accountable. We didn’t see that today and it’s disappointing, especially given the wall of silence in the immediate aftermath of the Irvin charge (well summed up by John McGrath at the TNT).

Rest assured there’ll be a lot of tough questions asked from the national guys if the Seahawks win a title and it’s tainted by numerous PED suspensions. As I said a few days ago, zero has to be the maximum number of additional charges going forward — or credibility will begin to be challenged. This has to stop now.

And just when you think it can’t get any worse, there’s talk today they’re going to drag the draft out until May. Meaning longer to wait, longer to dilute the process and more time having to listen to people banging on about whichever quarterback they love/hate on Twitter.

I need to see some Christine Michael and Jordan Hill highlights…


  1. Brett

    I actually took the fact that Carroll spoke passionately about this topic for five uninterrupted minutes as an indication that he is in fact very angry about this. When he goes on a tangent like that, it’s a sign that he means business. The way he addresses the media on issues like this is going to be very different than the way he addresses his players, which is to be expected.

    • Rob Staton

      I appreciate that there will be a big difference between the media message and the player message. I just feel like there wasn’t a great deal of substance to what we heard today and I wanted a firmer approach. But again, I don’t think he was ever put on the spot about it. In fact I know he wasn’t. And I can’t believe that. Not one difficult question from the media.

      • Brett

        I agree that the media was a joke. If a transcript of that interview is ever released, I think you’d see some firm words were used by Carroll. It may have been lost in his tone and the speed in which he was speaking, however.

        • Rob Staton

          Very possible. I will have another listen later. Unfortunately the questions to follow will be the same…

          • T-CARP

            The sports media will continue to dig and try to uncover random connections and correlations to bombard anyone affiliated with the Hawks on this subject. The problem is the precedent they set by not asking the difficult questions. So I agree with Rob that they should have asked them all during that first press conference. I am actually very surprised they did not. Since when did the media start shying away from a good controversy?

            I have no issues with the coaching staff though. This is not USC (probably a bad example) where Pete was in charge of molding young men. This is the NFL. These are professionals. They should be held accountable for their own actions. If it comes out that the team was aware of illegal activities or provided them, then you claim the need for a culture change. I believe players like playing for Pete, because he does take an interest in their lives. They make mistakes and he stand behind them. He helps them find the proper course of action and holds them accountable from then on. But if they aren’t fitting the Seahawks mold then they get cut. Simple as that. The best example off the top of my head in Lendale White. Came in thinking he owned his spot and Pete n the boys let him loose for that sense of entitlement.

            We have assembled quite a team now, but if any of the players feel their job is safe (aside from #3) they are sorely mistaken. PCJS are not afraid to take in someone with a troubled past, just like they aren’t afraid to get rid of someone who continues to make the same mistakes.

  2. Colin

    This PED issue will be just like MLB and steroids… outrage at certain teams and individuals, only to realize everyone else is doing it. It doesn’t make it right, but this issue will blow over with time. Pete and John just need to bear down on these guys and make this issue go away.

    • Rob Staton

      I hope it does go away. Right now I fear there’s another case yet to emerge and even one more failed test and credibility may be permanently damaged.

      • Colin

        To be honest, no one gives two flying shits about this PED things. It’s just a nice excuse to yell CHEATER! I mean, Bill Belichick got away with a competitive advantage far greater than Adderall and they still fawn over the guy despite several Patriots also being tested positive for HGH.

        As long as the cash keeps flowing in, the NFL really doesn’t care.

      • A. Simmons

        I felt the same way. I hope it isn’t the case. A few comments from Carroll made it sound like this won’t be the last instance. We may be hearing about another case soon. That is going to be irritating if it happens.

        • adog

          if Ray Lewis on the eve of the superbowl is linked to PEDS and that blew over like a piece of fuzz…then these suspensions/positives test will blow over easily if the seahawks reach the superbowl. The game is bigger than life. It supersedes our morals and virtues…which is why we like the damn game so much. If the seahawks have a disappointing season…then the PED tests will remain relevant as a sort of excuse for under achievement. It is rare that overachievement and cheating are paired together, however it is much easier to call a loser a cheater than a winner a cheater. This talk of asterisks is foolish and overwrought with paranoia that America’s great game will become unrobed of its impeccable ruse of pure athleticism. What will we find? Racist, explioitive, and a league that is founded on greed. I love the nfl, but let’s face it, it is a cess pool of hypocriticism. While Goodell may suspend Lynch for a drinking and driving, he will never discipline a owner in the league for tee totaling players and fans alike.

          • Phil

            adog — I couldn’t disagree with you more. What makes you think that the public/fans are willing to forgive cheating if it leads to success? Look at Lance Armstrong’s recent problems or, more to the point, what happened to PC at USC — his college coaching legacy will be forever stained because of the NCAA investigations. Then your statement about “we” liking the game because it’s bigger than life and it supersedes our morals and virtues. Sounds like you are willing to win at any cost which I don’t think fairly represents the feelings of most fans.

            • AlaskaHawk

              I love Lance Armstrong. They never could catch him on drugs when he was biking despite doing over 300 tests. He is probably the most tested man in the universe. Now years later it comes unraveled, it’s a giant waste of my time and the tax payers money.

              PC is not stained. No one gives a rat’s ass what he did in college.

              As for Irvin, he was caught and punished with a four game suspension. He will lose salary, playing time, etc. He has already been punished, so get over it!

            • adog

              well…the whole country was on lance armstrong’s penis when he was winning, as soon as he stops winning, he’s on oprah divulging in the next phase of an american tragi-comedy…that of the fallen hero and his humble redemption. No one cares about legacies when you are building a new one…as Carroll is at Seattle. It is a game of simple empathy. We love winners and despise losers. No matter how much Goodell “cleans” up the game, tries to probate the culture of young African Americans, there will be a slimy underbelly that will surface at the most inopportune times for the individual player. Goodell will continue as will Paul Allen…et al…to super impose the nfl as some athletic event of purity and moral esteem, yet it will always remain flawed with the Bruce Irvins’ and the Jeramy Stevens’, great athletes oppressed by this mirage of cleanliness the nfl maintains at all costs to such players.

              • AlaskaHawk

                If you took a fan poll asking whether they would condone players using drugs if by doing so their team made the finals – I bet over 50% would say “Yes”.

                I know the fans supported baseballs home run hitters, even when we suspected there was a reason they were so muscular.

                • A. Simmons

                  I don’t think it would be anywhere near that high. A sport loses a lot of credibility if the same set of rules are not followed. Now if the same poll was conducted as to whether Americans would watch the sport with PED use, I think the 50% or more would. No one cared in the 70s and 80s when people were roiding.

                  Bodybuilding has survived all these years with roid use being prevalent and well known. You cannot compete as a bodybuilder without steroids. I think any sport that allowed PEDs would be fine as long as everyone was going by the same rules. That’s the main issue. PED use is banned. So some players using them against players that are not hurts the credibility of the game.

            • A. Simmons

              A lot more is going to have to happen to come close to the scandal of Lance Armstrong. I agree. If it goes too far, it will stain the team. It’s gotta stop.

  3. Darnell

    I tough public stance needs to be taken. Something is clearly missing in the process that is leading to this happening in high numbers with the Hawks.

    PEDs, in of themselves, do not bother me. I have come to accept them as standard fare as a part of the entertaining game of football, as 6’5 230lbs with 4.4 speed doesn’t happen organically. It is naiive to think that the majority of college and pro football players are not using PEDs – because they are, and have been for decades. But what’s missing in the Seahawks laboratory that has them getting caught at a higher rate than everyone else?

    • dave crockett

      My suspicion is that guys thought they had a system for beating the test. Now, they’ve been proven demonstrably false. It wouldn’t surprise me if another case crops up from someone tested around the same time as Irvin.

      • diFuria

        I agree – that’s pretty clearly what is going on. But as long as our team keeps winning, how upset are the fans really going to be? Sherman himself estimated that half the league was using Adderall. But it is really about the HGH train. There are pretty sophisticated ways of masking PEDs and our team’s guy apparently just isn’t very good at it. What do I know – maybe we just signed a lot of dudes who have trouble paying attention. But I’m gonna pop if I hear one more person calling it a “mistake” or saying that we need to do a better job educating the players — like they somehow didn’t get the memo.

        No one asked Pete a tough question because who wants to hear the answer? They suspect what is going on (a very candid admission by Schneider about college recruiting to that effect) but there is not much they can do about it. To see Pete get worked up about it would be like him being outraged that boosters were paying USC athletes. It would ring a bit false, imho.

  4. dave crockett

    Portis’ agent is saying that he was not arrested. He was pulled over for suspicion of DUI, passed the field sobriety tests and was not arrested.

  5. A. Simmons

    I’m never going to care if the league tries to give us asterisks. I don’t if you have studied the history of the league, but there have been a few public roid users like Lyle Alzado, Matuszak, and Bill Romanowski. The Player’s Union is fighting HGH testing right now. You know it isn’t because of the “standard” as they say. It’s because a lot of player’s probably use HGH and they don’t want to deal with the issues from it.

    Roids were extremely common during the 80s when the Raiders were winning championships. I would hardly be surprised if far more people were using roids than ever admitted to it. Football started to clean up their house before it became the same level of scandal as baseball, but don’t think for a second they weren’t using PEDs as much as baseball given the physical nature of the sport.

    So any asterisks NFL guys try to give Seattle for anything can take their talk and shove it. Until I see an asterisk on games decided by bad officiating or even one player caught for PEDs or Spygate then I don’t want to hear anyone in the league talking about asterisks on anything Seattle does.

  6. Phil

    Is there anyone out there who’s an expert on the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement? If so, does the Agreement allow individual teams to discipline players for using PEDs, or does punishment have to come from the league? I’m guessing it’s the latter. If I’m right, this is probably the reason that some of us are frustrated that the Seahawks’ front office isn’t being more assertive in its dealings with the team’s PED users.

    • SeaMeat

      I forgot who mentioned it yesterday but one of the major NFL journalists mentioned individual teams cannot discipline players following a league discipline.

      If that is the case I also find it silly for the NFL to discuss fines for the Seahawks because of the # of players testing positive if the team cannot discipline outside of saying some ‘words’ and educating the players on PED’s.

  7. uh-oh

    Is a four game suspension not enough punishment? Change the punishment. Talking it to death isn’t going to help.

    Wait, it worked for MADD.

  8. myjackrebel

    Maybe we should fire PC/JS and bring back Tim Ruskell and get rid of all these kuckleheads

  9. Robert

    In other news, Percy Harvin busted out some video game like moves and speed vs our secondary in yesterday’s drills!

    I hope to see a shift in our offensive philosophy this year: I would like to see a little less running on 1st and 2nd down at the start of games. The defense is amped up enough to slow down our run game early. With an experienced RW and so many dangerous weapons, I want to see more passes early off the play action fake. I think this strategy will lead to faster starts, more points early and open up our running game faster than pounding away early. This approach plays to our strength because we are unbeatable with an early lead, which pressures opposing offenses to gamble vs our defense.

  10. Barry

    Juice, Roids, and whatever the new name for athlete enhancers are just part of all of pro sports. Sometimes a team gets on a “hot” streak for getting busted and that’s what we are seeing with the Hawks.

    Not trying to sound harsh and I even like it more when its not in the news because I’m not reminded that this is the way it is these days. But we should not be so naive to think that everyone doesn’t use. They do. In all sports. I had friends who’s kid a swimmer in high school he’s best friend and teammate on the swim team was busted for a steroid. That was 5 years ago in high school. I’ve heard third-hand stories about punters using for crying out loud. Now that’s third-hand but I always consider the source.

    The more technology advances the more we will see this. Its a more and more interesting argument as I have no problem with someone putting something in their body that helps them heal. That makes you wonder, you have a best player, a franchise guy. Wouldn’t you want him on the field for as long as you can have him there.

  11. Eran Ungar

    The whole asterisks notion sounds ridiculous. Yes, fans of other teams may tease the hawks and Media idiots may pose questions cause it creats intrest and in the end it will all blow away.

    This is a professorial sports played by well paid professionals that will do everything they can to be better and get paid more. They will use PED, they will hold on the offensive line, they will jam receivers beyond the 5 yard line, they will bump into receivers, take cheap shots, trash talk, WHATEVER THEY CAN – THEY WILL.

    On the other side of the fence – The NFL will test for PED, the zebra’s will use the flags and try to keep everyone honest.

    It’s DUMB to hit the QB long after the ball was thrown, they will always see it and flag you. it’s dumb to grab a targeted receiver with both arms right in front of the referee – you will never get away with that one. Your coachs should be there to teach you – it may have worked in peewee league when dad was the referee but that shit wont fly in the NFL.

    Those same coaches should also tell you – that PED shit wont fly either. As much as we’d love for all players to be on it and play better – THEY TEST FOR IT AND WILL BENCH YOUR ASS. When they bench your ass they punish you financially and the team gets hurt. It’s not your call to make, it’s not your risk to take. If we decide it’s worth it – we’ll let you know. Until that time comes here is a little paper for you boys to sign. 4 weeks on the bench is 25% of the season. The next player to take a PED bench leave hereby agrees to donate 25% of his yearly pay to a worthy “Stay away from drugs” program. (yes, beyond the pay loss under NFL regulations)

    And if we are on the role – add DUMB DUI arrests that ends with missing games as well.

    Call it the new PED FREE contract amendment.

    That would make the Media smile and keep the roster on the field instead of tweeting apologies.

    Make Irvine memorable as the last seahawk caught using PED….

    (ofcourse, if there is something that helps you play better, earn more etc. that cant be found – enjoy it)

  12. James

    Make no mistake….the fact that, in the past 3 years, the Seahawks have had 7 PED suspensions and the 49ers 0 is no fluke. So, what are the reasons? If you have ever done a root-cause-analysis, you know that, when you dig deep enough, there are multiple causes almost always related to the culture of the workplace. All these are probably main factors: 1) Pete is a very forgiving guy. The players know that, if they get caught doing something wrong, the full weight of heaven and earth is not going to come down on them. They will put their paycheck at risk, but not their career. With Pete, as long as they compete, they are OK. 2) PCJS have invested a number of draft choices in guys who had rare talent but questions about their character. Pete was trusted to handle guys who had been in trouble in the past. But, has the locker room reached the tipping point with too many of these guys? 3) Drugs in general, and adderall in particular, are at epidemic levels at many college football programs. Pete alluded to this on Monday. The Seahawks scouts have not found a way to identify and prioritize high risk prospects. …These first 3 root causes can be fixed, and probably will be fixed, now that the pressure is on (Josh Portis, don’t let the door hit you in the a** on the way out). My worry is that root cause #4) may be present in the locker room — you have a gangster, a drug pusher or two, on the team. These guys can be hard to identify, because for some unknown reason, people don’t want to be rats, even if the ship is sinking. If a player or two is in that locker room quietly identifying and working on the weak links, it is a cancer that will grow and grow until it devours the body. If there is a gangster in the locker room, they have to discover him and get rid of him, no matter how good a player he is.

  13. Colin

    Michael Crabtree out for the year with a torn Achilles…… talk about a blow to SF.

    • James

      Wow….our two teams are mirror images. Even in adversity.

    • James

      We may find out sooner than we thought if the Seahawks were right to draft Chris Harper over Quinton Patton. QP will have to play a lot this year for the evil empire.

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