Ex-NFL Player Chronicles League Drug Problem, Roger Goodell’s Inconsistency

by NESN Staff

December 2, 2015

It’s no secret that life in the NFL isn’t all wealth and glory. There are copious amounts of injuries, many of which get overlooked by coaches or unreported by players terrified of losing their job to the “next man up” culture of the league.

Former NFL offensive lineman Eben Britton described the harsh realities many players face, using his own story — a spiraling disaster — as an example in a recent story for Sports Illustrated’s “The Cauldron.”

In short, Britton suffered a herniated disc just prior to training camp in 2010 (his second NFL season) with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He discovered that using Adderall, a drug commonly prescribed to treat ADHD, helped him deal with constant pain and recovery. He quickly fell into drug addiction, and after forgetting his prescription at home, he took a pill from a teammate — except it wasn’t the same thing.

Britton took Ritalin, an ADHD drug very similar to Adderall, and was suspended four games to begin this season. He’s currently retired.

He compared his recent experience to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension following Deflategate, and he threw some shade at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the process.

“Tom Brady and I were hit with the same four-game suspension in the same offseason,” Britton wrote. “Me for taking Ritalin instead of Adderall; Brady for allegedly okaying the fractional inflation of footballs.

“Even now, I still can?t figure out which was worse: My not knowing the difference between two, very different medications, or the Deflategate scandal. Both Tom and I, it seems, made mistakes. Maybe he had a better case than I did. Maybe his name carried more weight than mine did. None of that bothers me; it?s part of the business. Really, the problem goes much deeper than the individual infractions, and gets to the heart of how the NFL?– ?and Roger Goodell, in particular?– determines what punishments best fit the crimes.”

In other words, Goodell attacks a controversy or sweeps it under the rug however he sees fit, with no real consistency. We’d point to the rule book and the systematic outlining of discipline processes as evidence against Britton’s claim, but it clearly was thrown out the window in January.

Britton finishes by taking full responsibility for his actions, but noted that “to Roger Goodell, I?m barely a blip on the radar,” and that “the process of determining suspensions may lack nuance or consistency.”

He can say that again.

The full story was about much more than Deflategate and Roger Goodell and exposed a problem that Britton very likely wasn’t the first to encounter. Check it out by clicking the link below.

Click to read Eben Britton’s full account of the NFL’s drug problem >>

Thumbnail photo via Howard Smith/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Former Chicago Bears offensive lineman Eben Britton
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