Brandon Browner’s suspension raises questions

Steve Perotti, TSV Staff Writer

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner is being punished for missing drug tests that while he wasn’t even a member of the National Football League.

The case of Browner has made headlines since the announcement of the player’s one year suspension for a “failure to cooperate” in regards to the leagues substance abuse policy. Browner is categorized as being in the third “stage” of the policy, a label he’s received for missing two separate drug tests in 2006 and 2007.

The strange part of it is this is that the drug tests that Browner missed were scheduled when he was no longer a member of the league. Due to an issue with communication between the league and the player, Browner had no knowledge of these required drug tests. He’s being penalized for missing tests that he was no longer required to take at the time, seeing as how he was no longer a member of the league.

Browner has been back in the league since 2011, and if he had not been escalated to stage three, the numerous tests he’s taken in the past two years would be enough to ensure that Browner’s slate would be wiped clean. The way that the “continued participation” section of the leagues drug policy is structured forces anyone who enters the intervention stages to remain in the stages until they are dismissed or released from the program. Browner was not under contract with the league when he missed the drug tests, and this is why he was placed in the policy’s intervention stages.

To add insult to injury, the substance that Browner is guilty of abusing, is marijuana. And according to a source close to Browner, it was a “small amount” of marijuana metabolites that were found in Browner’s system.

Regardless of marijuana’s categorization as a controlled substance, does it warrant such a strict and stringent punishment? He is being punished with the severity of an athlete who tested positive for heroin or cocaine.

Browner should be exempt from the intervention stages of the leagues policy. At this point in time, it’s common knowledge that marijuana is not a “performance enhancing” drug; therefore, the punishment for such a situation should be different.