Dec 2, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) celebrates following a 34-7 Seattle victory against the New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seahawks’ Suspensions and Issues Would Be a Bigger Deal, If Not for the 12th Man

Hey 12′s!

I am back after a lengthy hiatus as I added writing for the FanSided homepage as part of my regimen for a while and am excited to get back in the swing with my weekly column for you great Seattle fans. And good lord do I have something for you this week, hope you’re in the mood to read a little. Let’s get it!

I saw this intriguing column by Hayden Kane at our FanSided partner and just had to respond. The main bullet point is in the title of the column, “Seattle Seahawks PED suspensions: Seriously, why don’t we care more?” In all fairness he meant general suspensions, PED or otherwise. It’s a pretty interesting concept he brings up and I’d suggest the read to make sense of what you’re about to read as a response.

As opposed to the original negative comments towards this piece, I have to admit I was wondering when this question was going to be posed by somebody, if ever. It IS a valid question and I am SHOCKED that it’s not a bigger deal to the league office. I will say that it seems as if Browner’s suspension (if upheld) is a step in that exact direction. Technically a judgement of a year long suspension for this offense isn’t supposed to fall until til the 4th time around and this is Browner’s first issue in this category, to my knowledge. (Thanks for that assist goes to our old buddy @12thManMyers). The suspension then, could be more of a not-so-quiet but inconspicuous message to the Seahawks from the NFL, more-so than to Browner; “Get it fixed or we reserve the right to expedite the process of penalty against your player(s).” Yeah I might be reaching there, but maybe not.

At any rate consider that the league is fining and flirting with the idea of taking away a draft pick from the Steelers for their coach standing too close to the field of play when a player ran by and almost bumped him. The NFL is extremely sensitive to even seemingly non-issues. Consider also that if the University of Washington were facing this, the question of “death penalty” might be posed, not acted upon, but it would come up eventually through other findings in a stupidly-long investigation of the last two decades of stuff. A bowl ban, recruiting penalties, etc., all would be on the table and the previous coaches would be sought out for penalty if possible.

Thankfully that isn’t the case in the NFL, but the argument of why Seattle has been caught so many times without really having to deal with much flack as an organization is incredibly justified and ultimately, the result is stunning. There’s nothing wrong with having the opinion that this is maybe a bigger deal than we make it out to be.

That being said, to answer your question Hayden in a general sense, comparing football and baseball is comparing the gladiators to the Roman soldiers. One is held to a higher standard and baseball has always self-proclaimed it’s place as “America’s Game.” The other is expected to find a way to that edge for survival and Football was the sport created for the ‘bad boy’ in all of us. Corruption in baseball is supposed to mean more because they hold themselves to a higher standard, so it does.

Sep 20, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez (13) reacts after striking out against the San Francisco Giants during the sixth inning of a game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Also, for the most part, NFL players simply accept their punishment (I said for the most part) as opposed to lying about it and dragging it into the public circle of court or whatever. You lose credibility for your sport by doing that and ultimately being proven guilty. It’s also worth mentioning that this is not Russell Wilson and it was looking like a bigger deal when Sherm was in trouble last year. But yeah, none of these players has the stature of a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.

Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez were the flag-bearers for all races in Major League Baseball and all of them lied about it, under oath! Before them nobody would have noticed and honestly, we can ask the question would they have been noticed in their stature otherwise? Yeah probably, but I think that’s the main catch-22 for this whole argument. I mean nobody really talks about Jay Buhner and Randy Johnson in that regard, while questions could easily be raised for both.

But we move on to cover the horizon of the question.

To answer your question as a pure Hawks fan, we don’t care at this point, LOL. We can’t be bothered with that stuff. Simply, we’ve been heartbroken and cheated out of this thing too many times (believe it or not and true or not, that’s how we feel… check the phantom Jets’ TD to end our season in ’99, or the 2006 Super Bowl “pushoff” that stole a TD or “touchdown” that wasn’t or “block in the back” by our QB who was in on the tackle, or the two Playoff losses to Chicago in the last 7 years, or Atlanta in 2013 and etc.). Not all of them were us being cheated but the fact remains we’re starving. We’ve been too good to not have a banner and until we get what’s comin’ we won’t let anything taint our view or stand in the way of our year!!! We deserve this! We can taste this!

Digging deeper, it comes down to the way that Pete Carroll and his staff handle these situations. They don’t let us (or the all important media) dwell on them and those in trouble do not define our team or our team character. When a guy gets suspended, he gets suspended, end of discussion, period. It’s not this “oh woe is us how will we survive this” attitude, our management prepared and did their homework! Every weakness on this team only seems to reveal a bigger strength. The issues that completely destroyed our teams in the past are mere blips on the radar now.

Bad call? Make a play. Down 21? Get tough. Guy injured? Dang it, good thing we drafted homeboy behind him! Guy suspended, WHAT!? (Shrug) we don’t even think about them more than the time it takes us to read it. Oh wait, how many games? Is Russell still our quarterback? Ok, yeah we’re good. There’s no time to whine about it, we’ve been here before and it’s just time to overcome it all. It’s the Pete Carroll way and we’ve all bought in.

Next up, the way this team was built, this is OUR team now! Most are draft picks, which gives the fans a particular sense of pride and entitlement in their performances. On top of that, like 90% of our players are degenerates, passed over or made fun of by the entire league for one reason or another either during the draft or after it. It’s been well documented and we’ve embraced them as the somebodies nobody wanted but now everybody wish they had! Sorry, that’s OUR guy and we’re willing to help him through his issues. Carroll and the 12′s realize that there is a fair amount of risk involved there, but if we can’t embrace you, nobody can. There’s always the T.O.’s that come to town and never fit in, but they kick themselves to the curb anyway.

Whether from the years of painful setbacks or the idea that nobody could be bothered with us or our players, we’ve all developed the underdog mentality, killer instinct and forgiving attitude for those that wish to be forgiven.

Dec 2, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) comes back to the locker room following a 34-7 Seattle victory against the New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Most importantly, each and every one of these players are heavily involved in the betterment of their community and have formed an unbelievable bond with the people and media of Seattle. The Russell Wilson’s, Richard Sherman’s, Marshawn Lynch’s, Golden Tate’s, Doug Baldwin’s and Earl Thomas’s are killers, trash talkers and unreal natural athletes on the field, but as a unit they probably best represent what the NFL is all about outside the field of play, in fact better than most any other group. Media spin is easily positive towards that type of endearment and to a man the team is never “too good” for a quick interview. That earns brownie points.

The guys are ambassadors for their sport and for their city. In Seattle our team is recognized as citizens and friends before we recognize them as players! We know the face before we know the number on the jersey. When they win, we all celebrate together! When they lose, the city is gloomy. We feed off each other on a daily basis, which is part of why we have the loudest crowd in the world. I mean it’s always been loud here, but when everybody cares about the guy making the play more than the play itself, well… Special Happens.

I guess it also doesn’t hurt that it’s nice to be the ‘bad boy’ for once, as opposed to getting beat up by him. Heck, we lived in the AFC West for three decades! Oakland, KC and Denver were always a combination of the dirtiest and best teams in the league. It was like getting punched in the face by big brother ALL THE TIME! When we moved into the NFC West we were the punch-line upon arrival. We were never supposed to be allowed to catch up to San Francisco, St. Louis, Arizona. The banners and trophies said it all.

But things have changed, the Aldon Smith’s of the world are getting caught on illegal gun charges in San Fran while the Cardinals are picking up a Tyrann Mathieu with all of his personal problems because he’s a heck of a baller! He got like a million retries at LSU and still couldn’t figure it out, but heck, the Cards were desperate.

We have to be desperate! So our guys took a couple pills and a joint for a leg up, who cares? Nobody’s totally clean, that’s football. If you get caught, own up and do the time. Maybe it’s the wrong attitude to have, but it’s not changing because a few more penalty flags are thrown. We NEED a championship.

We all have issues and it’s always been like this, the great teams face adversity and simply press the “dismiss” prompt on their screen til nobody can see it. For the rest of the league it must really piss them off that the perceived weakness of the week is actually not going to be any easier to attack than it was before. But that’s how it is with every great NFL team.

We’ve been on the other side of the fence too often! Meh, what’s a few suspensions? Next man up til dude gets back! Besides, look at the Tomlin deal. The league is so busy trying to figure out what to do with the next guy that they can’t focus on who’s doing what in Seattle for too long. Suspend the guy and let the 12th Man play!

Go Hawks!

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Tags: Brandon Browner Football Pete Carroll Richard Sherman Seattle Seahawks Walter Thurmond

  • Hayden Kane

    Great article Josh, and good points all around. I think what’s interesting is that NFL fans are a volatile bunch, prone to overreact to just about everything, and yet this story gets treated differently.

    Another thing I’ll say is this: I truly did not mean to discredit what the Seahawks have accomplished this season and the last couple years. I really like most of their players (seriously, who doesn’t like Russell Wilson?). I just wanted to know why, in a world of overblown reactions whether it be the NBA, NFL, or MLB, why hasn’t this story gotten that treatment? You make some great points to answer that question here.

    • AllCoug’dUp (Joshua Davis)

      Never doubted the pure intentions of your article. Like I said, intriguing and well posed.

      If I had to boil it down to two points just purely to answer the “volatile NFL fan” part of your question I’d say two quick things, both derived from the points above

      1) Media Darlings (Carroll, WIlson, Robinson, Thomas and yes, even Sherman). Accessible, conversational, funny and brilliant. Carroll is also an incredible deflector of evil while staying polite, positive and focused on the next step.

      2) Seahawks’ fans run the NFL right now, which takes the focus away from crap like suspensions. Remember it used to be the rally towels of Pittsburgh that demanded all of the attention and at that time their big issues were never as big as they should’ve been either. It was always more about the fans than the team and I believe that’s kind of happened to an extent here as well. For example the suspensions were overshadowed by the publicity stunt of going for the world record. Now the fans have raised enough to fly a banner over candlestick and the SF fans need a memo to learn how to cheer. Nobody’s thinking suspensions.

      If Russell Wilson gets caught with a bong though… you’ll find out really quick where the volatile are hiding out at.

  • BothellFan12

    Please take a brief view of NFL rules. All drugs fall into one suspension category. He was suspended last year at the same time for Adderall usage. This is his second positive test.

    Why is Browner on stage 3? The NFL rules are fairly simple on the matter and there is an explanation no one is making because of the legal ramifications. Browner played for the Broncos in 2005 and was cut, going to Canada to play in the CFL. The NFL asks and requires cut players to take random drug tests. If Browner missed one, he was advanced a stage automatically. His run in with improper Adderall usage last year pushed him to Stage 2.

    This is a gaping hole in the NFL drug rules. The CFL also does drug testing. The NFL does not accept/honor it and will advance players all the way to Stage 3 by missing random tests while playing in the CFL.

  • Jason Hunter

    So… there’s evidence of a chronic culture of cheating, but so what, we’re winning, and dang, don’t Pete Caroll’s teeth sparkle when he smiles…. ???

    Look, i like the ‘Hawks, they’re my favorite NFC team, especially this year’s incarnation, but i just finished an article gushing all over the team depth and paying particular note to how effective later draft picks have been for the team. Mix that with a trend of suspensions on ambiguous (but stiff) drugs violations and one wonders just how it is that Seattle players are so consistently overachieving their scouted expectations. And while i’m so very proud of NFL athletes who come from a bad neighborhood somewhere else find time in the off season to generate positive PR and a ray of hope for a handful of kids in a bad neighborhood where you’re from, but let’s be real, it’s not like Russell Wilson is a revolutionary force who’s actually working for a better economic reality for the working poor… he’s an example of the duplicitous nature of big business enterprise. Which is exactly the rationale you are applying when you willfully disregard the circumstances of your success (and by “your” i mean the successes of a bunch of people who play and manage and monetize football for a very lucrative living, not actually anything that you, yourself, did. Though you do seem to at least scrape off a little bit of that for writing sports opinion —lol— which is shockingly honest and, in this case, disturbingly uninhibited by any sort of moral compass).

    i can’t say either way, maybe Pete Caroll’s a genius teacher and all that flap about what happened at USC is overblown and doesn’t raise questions about the ethical character of the man at the head of your franchise, but if i were you, i’d be looking to find that out, because it’s gonna sting later if the house of cards and all your accolades fall under the glaring headline of: STEROIDS FUEL SUPERBOWL SEASON. That and cheating is wrong, and steroids are bad for your balls.