Chargers linebacker Stephen Cooper was suspended sans paycheck for the first four games of the 2008 season for violation of the leagues policy on steroids and related substances, according to the teams official website.
Cooper will be eligible to play as of week 5, that’s October 5th at Miami. He will be able to play in the preseason, however. Yay.
Cooper’s semi-mea culpa was pasted on the Chargers website: “I regret that I mistakenly took a stimulant that I did not realize at the time was banned by the NFL. I support the NFL’s anti-doping policies, and understand that I must serve a suspension even though the stimulant that I took was not used before any game and was not used to enhance my performance.”
While I respect Cooper taking responsibility for his actions, the “I did not realize” excuse is really weak. You are getting paid millions of dollars, might want to double check that the pills you’re throwing back aren’t on the NFL’s no-no list. Ask a trainer, coach, agent, anyone with a vested interest in your life if this drug you’re taking is permissible. It sounds like a no-brainer to me, especially if you’ve been popped for possession of steroids in the past.
Can’t help but be reminded of fellow linebacker Shawne Merriman getting busted for ‘roids and missing four games in 2006. I’m sure these are two isolated incidents. Nevertheless, the linebacker corps isn’t learning from their mistakes.
Norv and A.J. need to peak around the locker room more, but players really need to police each other. This team is so damn close to going to the big show. The Chargers defense is really coming together and the last thing they need is the steroid stigma.
The window to capitalize on this talented group grows smaller every season. Cooper’s actions hurt himself, and as a result he weakened a team.