Seahawks could face broader consequences for suspensions

Published On May 21, 2013 | By Sarah Kirkpatrick

Following Seattle Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin’s four-game suspension for the 2013 season after testing positive for Adderall Friday, Seattle is falling under scrutiny from the national media and could potentially be fined for additional infractions.

Irvin is the fifth Seahawk since 2010 to be suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs. Cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman were both suspended at the end of the 2012-13 season for Adderall usage — though Sherman had his suspension overturned due to faulty testing procedures. Before that, guard John Moffitt, offensive tackle Allen Barbre and defensive back Winston Guy all received suspensions for undisclosed reasons.

League spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday that Seattle could potentially receive financial consequences for its repeated offenses.

The rule was passed in 2008 and was first used against the Dallas Cowboys following the suspension of Pacman Jones. Under this rule, teams are required to give a certain portion of the salary to the league that the suspended players will not receive.

Seattle will not have to pay this fine for 2013 — for now. The rule only applies when multiple suspensions occur in a single league year.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll acknowledged the team’s issues and said the organization will work hard to avoid any future mishaps.

“It’s serious. It’s real serious,” Carroll said Monday. “And we need to let you know that we understand that … We go well past what the guidelines ask us to do as far as working with the young guys and trying to give them the direction, trying to give them the counseling.”

The Seahawks are regarded by many as a potential Super Bowl contender, but Carroll noted that behavioral issues must not be overlooked.

“These guys are at a point where they have worked really hard to grow together and establish the kind of makeup on the team that gives you a chance to do good things,” he said. “But with that also comes the responsibility to handle it well, and over the years I have seen what it takes to be consistently on top.”

The NFL also has a policy, initiated in 2011, that extends to on-field infractions, such as horse-collar tackles, roughing the passer, facemask violations or other hard hits. Once a team accumulates $100,000 in fines in a single season, the team pays an additional $50,000 fine.

While the NFL is the only major league in the United States with team-wide penalizations for individual infractions, such a policy might prove effective in other leagues. For example, the Philadelphia Phillies have had three players suspended for PED usage since 2009, and the San Francisco Giants organization had two players suspended in 2012 alone.

But ultimately, teams will not be wavered much by such small fines, which are mere fractions of a team’s yearly revenue. If leagues want to prevent the game from getting overly physical or avoid PED use, much bigger steps will have to be taken — whether through the loss of draft picks or playoff spots, or even harsher consequences.

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About The Author

Sarah is a Seattle native studying journalism at Boston University. She covers track and field, cross country and women’s hockey and is Sports Editor at The Daily Free Press, BU’s independent student newspaper. You can follow her on Twitter at @Kirkpatrick_SJ.