Yes, I am a Colts fan. And I am a Pacers fan. But as a former journalist, I do my best to always be accurate. And I do try to be objective.
When I read the news about Colts linebacker Robert Mathis’ four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, my first reaction was utter shock. Followed by disappointment.
Then, I read Mathis’ statement:
It is difficult for me to address the circumstances surrounding this suspension because they involve very personal medical information, but it is very important to me that my fans, particularly young people, understand what did and did not occur. Like many families, my wife and I faced fertility challenges, and I sought medical assistance. I specifically asked the doctor if the medication he prescribed for me would present a problem for NFL drug testing, and unfortunately, he incorrectly told me that it would not. I made the mistake of not calling the NFL or NFLPA to double check before I took the medication at the end of last season. The union has worked very closely with me to present all of the facts and medical records for consideration of discipline that does not include a suspension because of the unique facts of my case, but the Commissioner refused the request. I am deeply saddened that this situation will prevent me from contributing to my team for four games, and I regret that I didn’t cross check what my doctor told me before I took the medication. I hope that my fans will understand the unique circumstances involved here and continue to know that I am a man of integrity who would never intentionally circumvent the performance enhancing substance policy agreed to by the NFL and my union. The incredible blessing of this very upsetting situation is that, after I took the medication very briefly at the end of last season, we learned that my wife is expecting a baby. We are thrilled that we will be welcoming a new member in several months, but I apologize to my teammates, coaches and Colts fans that I will not be able to contribute to my team for the first four weeks of the 2014 season. I will work extremely hard during that time to stay in top football shape and will be prepared to contribute immediately upon my return.
And instantly, I felt relieved. And tweeted this:
— The Blue Mare™ (@TheBlueMare) May 16, 2014
There are doubters. There are naysayers. And maybe I am being naive. I’ve tried to be objective. I imagined how I would feel if it wasn’t Mathis and instead it was Brian Cushing, or Brandon Spikes, or Clay Matthews. Would I doubt it coming from them? Would that change my opinion?
And then, I saw this tweet from Conrad Brunner of ESPN’s 1070 The Fan.
Doubt @RobertMathis98 if you like. Rip him, if you want. But this cynical, jaded, bitter hack believes him. Now, you can rip me instead.
— Conrad Brunner (@1070Bruno) May 17, 2014
Screw objective. I’m with Bruno.
There are many players in this league I would doubt. Robert Mathis just isn’t one of them.
I choose to believe Mathis. Not because I want to, but because he’s earned it. With the way he’s lived his life and the way he’s played the game.
Ifs, ands, and buts, be damned.
You’ve gotta believe in something.
And I believe in Robert Mathis.