The Seahawks 2012 first round draft pick Bruce Irvin has received a four game suspension from the NFL for testing positive for a performance enhancing drug (PED). An assumption has been made by the media that the PED was Adderall, even though the results of such tests are kept confidential by the NFL. For the sake of conversation, I will go along with the assumption that Adderall was the PED identified in this particular case.
Adderall is an amphetamine based stimulant which was first introduced into the marketplace in 1996 by Shire; a billion dollar biopharmaceutical company based in the United Kingdom. The drug was used sparingly in 1996 to treat children who had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The disorder was first created by the American Psychiatric Association in 1980 and was originally known as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
It is estimated that 5 million American adults and children take medications for ADHD today. Prescriptions to young adults for ADHD have more than doubled in four years. Is the drug being overprescribed by doctors? Is there a rise in cases of ADHD in young adults?
Many critics have made allegations that NFL players who are taking Adderall use it to mask anabolic steroids. According to the National Institute of Health, amphetamines can cause a significant rise in plasma corticosteroid levels, which may interfere with urinary steroid tests.
It makes no sense to take Adderall in order to mask steroids. The use of Adderall would be discovered in a urinary test. The end result would still be a positive test for a PED and a suspension by the NFL.
If we are to believe that the NFL adheres to its strict policy of confidentiality regarding drug test results, would it be possible that agent’s of players are journalist’s “anonymous” sources who report that the PED discovered was Adderall in an attempt to minimize the public stigma? This is mere speculation on my part. Just as it is mere speculation on the part of people alleging that Irvin tested positive for Adderall.
Irregardless of the identity of the PED, Irvin will miss the first 4 games of his sophomore season due to suspension. He will also be missing the paychecks for those games. But more importantly, he will be missing the opportunity to hone and grow his skills as an edge pass rusher. This will hurt is opportunity to “always compete” for the starting job and snaps on the field.
Newly signed free agent Defensive Ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett will surely benefit from Irvin’s suspension. It will be interesting to see who the starting Defensive End will be come week #5.
Irvin has publicly acknowledged his mistake via his twitter account.
Irvin’s journey to the NFL has been forged through fire. He grew up in Atlanta where he dropped out of high school his junior year. He spent his time on the streets and was arrested for burglarizing a drug dealer’s home. He spent a couple of weeks in jail and was eventually kicked out of his mother’s home. Chad Allen took Irvin under his wing and helped him obtain his GED and attend community college.
ESPN ran a story on Irvin last year during the Monday Night Football game against the Packers. I encourage you to watch it.
Irvin is resilient. He has been knocked down several times and has gotten back up in his life. I expect him to do the same in this matter.
There was a lot of disdain, disappointment, and animosity directed towards Irvin upon the announcement of his suspension. Irvin is feeling 100 times worst.
In the words of Chuck Knox, “I’ve never had much use for a rear-view mirror, it only distracts from forward vision.”, what’s done is done. You can either support or show contempt towards Irvin during this time. I choose to look forward and support him in his return during week 5.