DOH’mer of the week: The AP Vote


You can be an NFL veteran for several years, but you can only be a rookie once. By virtue of a failed drug test, and the much ado about nothing fallout, Brian Cushing has successfully accomplished what no rookie has before. The Texans linebacker has become the first NFL player to win the NFL defensive rookie of the year award–TWICE.

At first glance, testing positive for a banned substance appeared punishing. Cushing would be forced to sit out the first four games of the upcoming season, which also comes with the sacrifice of four hefty paychecks. The penalty was a strike on his reputation, though speculation of steroid use always existed. He was to miss those games and fade into an average player with an average name, taking the field for an average team. This is what it was supposed to be, until SI’s Peter King rallied AP voters for a second opinion, which escalated the former Trojans publicity (though negative), by giving America another eyeful of the star.

How much would it cost to have a public relations firm put a rookie linebacker on the map? Would it be the equivalent of four NFL paychecks, or would it cost more? Sometimes all the money in the world can’t spread your name from coast to coast, but divine intervention can.

Sure, Cushing won’t be landing any Nike or Vitamin Water spots anytime soon, though after testing positive for a female fertility drug, promoting the level 5 ultimate lift may not be out of the question. But despite a positive test, his star hasn’t faded.  The AP didn’t allow it to. Their attempt at reversal had a reverse effect, as we pin the tail on the media Jackass.

What I’m trying to say is, the AP re-vote wasn’t punishing as much as it is rewarding. We will not watch a Texans game without the focus being on Brian Cushing. The unknown of last week is now one of the NFL’s most recognized players. And Houston, an expansion franchise that has never qualified for the postseason, has never been this publicized in May—or EVER.  America’s eyes will focus on the “clean” version of the “dirty” man, to see if there is a change in performance.

Peter King was so adamant about a “cheater” winning a media award that he insisted on a re-vote. Two of his colleagues chose to abstain, which is a journalistic way of saying “I don’t care, so I won’t do this shit again”. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette made a complete mockery of the second go-round, casting his vote for the Texas Cush, a suspended player at the center of the controversy that he didn’t vote for the first time. How’s that for results, Mr. King?

With all the huffing and puffing, Cushing wins the defensive rookie of the year award again, and this time by a margin of 6 votes over Buffalo’s Jairus Byrd. ESPN’s John Clayton changed his vote, giving it to Clay Matthews. What’s the significance of this? Not much. But when you have a redo based on speculation brought on by someone using a drug to kick start his testicles at the end of steroid cycle, and you’re hoping (Yes, you Peter King) that your fellow journalists board your wagon of honor and dismiss candidates surrounded with past or current suspicion, anyone selecting Clay Matthews hasn’t exactly bought into the purifying mission.

I’m not saying Clay Matthews is cheating. In fact, I really doubt it. But of all the names to pick from, Clayton chose another that was listed by the NFL Draft Bible a year ago. No, the Draft Bible isn’t a credible source for anything.  But you can’t deny that of the 5 players listed as failing drug tests at the 2009 NFL Combine, 3 are now correct and linked to their substances. B.J. Raji and offensive rookie of the year, Percy Harvin, were said to have tested positive for marijuana. Both Raji and Harvin eventually came forward about their use of the drug. The Draft Bible targeted Cushing for a positive test for PEDs, as it did Clay Matthews. Cushing has been put on blast for the past two weeks, leaving only Matthews and Vontae Davis of the five players listed that have yet to fail a test or admit to the use of any banned substances. If the second vote is about purification, let’s pick someone that wasn’t on that list.—No offense to you, Clay—but just sayin’.

The rookie award has become a joke, and AP voters even bigger. Past award winners are long forgotten. Brian Cushing is one we will never forget. His before and after pictures continue to circulate the web, but it’s the before and after voting results that earned 50 men a share of the DOH’mer. If there was anything learned by this at all, it’s that the majority of the panel was in disagreement with Peter King and couldn’t give a shit about his feelings on an individual achievement award that doesn’t hold league weight.  Asking for a re-vote is just as silly as the accused suggesting that a tumor is the reason behind the failed test.   He would be better off saying his sister pissed in his Cheerios, as would Peter King.

As a follower of the college game, I’ve often expressed my resentment of media awards (football national championships), and that obviously has not changed. Someday I may re-address those feelings, using the latest debacle to form a newer opinion. But as for now—I’ll abstain.

See Detailed results from the second vote

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~ by Anthony on May 13, 2010.

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