Piffles Throwdown - Andrew Harris, PEDs, Awards, and the CFL
Published: Thursday, Nov 7th 2019, 8:11am
By: Stephen Safinuk (@Safimod)
Before we get more than a few words into this, none of the below is done with the intention of taking any shots at Andrew Harris. Lord knows he’s taken many over the past few months, and that is not my purpose. Instead, I want to rant about the CFL and their rules that allow someone to be suspended for cheating and still get rewarded.
On August 26th, the CFL world was shocked when Andrew Harris was suspended 2 games for PED use. His urine sample following the July 12th game versus Toronto had tested positive for Metandienone, a type of steroid. While Andrew Harris has maintained his innocence, blaming product cross contamination, his B sample also tested negative and his suspension began on Labour Day Sunday.
Despite missing 2 games for testing positive, Andrew Harris ran away (no pun intended) with the rushing title for the 3rd consecutive year. His closest competition was William Powell, 287 yards behind (with 2 more games).
When team nominees for MOP, MOC, etc came out last week, Winnipeg Reporters got it right. They left Andrew Harris’ name off the ballot, nominating Willie Jefferson (MOP) and Mike Miller (MOC) in his place.
Then, divisional all stars were nominated yesterday, and to the shock of many, Andrew Harris found his name on that list. He was named the West Division All Star at running back.
The optics on this are terrible. The NFL has this correct. If a player tests positive for PEDs during the season, that player is removed from the ballot for awards and ineligible for the Pro Bowl (for non-NFL fans, the Pro Bowl is the NFL all-star game). In MLB, you are ineligible to play in the playoffs.
Derek Taylor (@DTonSC) said “I voted for Harris for West All-Star. 55% of me believes Harris’s story. So I voted him as the top RB in the West”.
That is where I have an issue. Its not that I don’t believe Andrew Harris. Its not up to me to pass judgement. I know only that he tested positive with both samples, and Harris’ camp says it was a “trace amount”. Beyond that, none of us know the truth. It should be not be up to reporters around the CFL to look at this situation and decide whether Andrew Harris is telling the truth. In the end, he is responsible for what he puts in his body. Something he put in his body had something he should be putting in his body in it. Intentional or accidental doesn’t matter.
Was he the best Running Back in the league in 2019? Absolutely, there is no question about it. But unfortunately, he also tested positive for PEDs. The CFL needs to follow the lead of other pro leagues, and make sure this doesn’t happen again. Test positive, accidental or intentional, and you should be removed from the ballot for all awards and recognition for that season. If the failed test happens in the offseason, then they are not eligible for the following season.