The news that another NFL player was slammed and suspended for using banned performance-enhancing drugs came as no shock.
After all, 13 players were arrested for the stuff last season alone.
And this time it was one of the best and brightest stars in the league. Arizona Cardinals star receiver DeAndre Hopkins was suspended by the league for six games without pay on Monday.
It should have been big news, headlines for the content-hungry news channels that need 24-hour coverage.
But it wasn’t.
Few barely raised an eyebrow or made a stink.
For baseball fans, it was a reminder of two things: 1) MLB has a higher standard and 2) it’s more important than the NFL.
Fans just expect that from the NFL and they don’t care who’s on the juice. Your enjoyment of watching the sport will not be compromised by an ounce.
If this had been Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels or Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers, this would have been the end of the world.
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens names would have been trending – again!
MLB would have been dragged through the mud for hours. People would talk about how dirty the sport was and would have blamed the commissioner. Worse still, some would have questioned any statistics that are produced these days. Some fans wouldn’t want to recognize her.
And for the players, it would be a stain on their careers. People would utterly disparage anything they had achieved up to that point. Worse still, their chances of being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame would all but disappear.
That’s how much fans care about the MLB compared to the NFL.
Hopkins, of course, pretended not to know what had happened. Addressing it on social media, he said, “In my 10-year NFL career, I have never tested positive for the use of any performance-enhancing drugs,” the statement said.
“When I learned my November test came back for trace elements of a banned substance, I was confused and shocked.
“I’m very careful about what I put into my body and have always taken a holistic approach, so I’m working with my team to investigate how this could have happened. But as careful as I was, I clearly wasn’t careful enough. For that, I apologize to the Cardinals fans, my teammates, and the entire Cardinals organization. I never want to let my team down.
“I intend to get to the bottom of this. As soon as I have more information I will share it.”
This statement on Twitter was captioned: “See you week 7.”
After all this, Hopkins somehow doesn’t appeal the suspension. He’ll just accept it.
His actions certainly don’t make him sound like a “shocked and confused” guy.
And that’s it.
Even in the debates and analysis shows on sports television, no one pointed the finger at Hopkins, telling him he was a disgrace to the game. They didn’t talk about how this fantastic wideout forever tarnished his career.
No, the conversation was about what the cards will do in his absence.
Yes, they moved on and Hopkins did no harm.
Maybe fans just expect most soccer players to get that big and strong. After all, football is a tough game.
Maybe football just doesn’t have the same structure as MLB, where the numbers mean a lot more in the game. There are few numbers that fans care about in football. Unlike baseball. Certainly, Hank Aaron’s 755 homers meant a lot. For this reason, many dismissed Bond’s claim when he broke the record, given all the PED allegations surrounding him.
Football just seems to keep going. Some of their biggest stars have been affected by the use of PED and few seemed to care. There was no one bigger than Lyle Alzado, who became one of the first major US athletes to admit to using anabolic steroids. Alzado said he started juicing in 1969 and never stopped. He died of a brain tumor at the age of 43.
But you didn’t hear his name on Monday.
Maybe it’s just not the fans, but the reporters who cover the different sports. It seems like NFL reporters/analysts turn their heads and cover the NFL when it comes to controversy.
But it’s not the same when it comes to MLB. It feels like baseball writers are a lot more critical and honest about what’s going on in the game.
If baseball writers were covering Hopkins’ suspension, it certainly wouldn’t have been treated with kid gloves. And yes, it would have moved the needle.