The Seahawks have a problem.
In the three years since Pete Carroll was hired to be their head coach, they lead the league in players suspended and total games suspended due to the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
For whatever reason, performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), don’t carry the same damning weight in pro football as they do in baseball. The reasons are relatively unclear, but while A-Rod is vilified for his use of PEDs and his impending year-long suspension from baseball, most casual football fans probably don’t realize that one of the star members of Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” is currently sidelined indefinitely for repeatedly breaking the substance abuse policy.
Under some obscure rule, probably written into the collective bargaining agreement, the NFL doesn’t comment on players suspended for substance abuse. That means that unless the player volunteers their drug of choice, the public will never know what they were suspended for taking. Furthermore, it means a lot of players claim the suspensions were due to Adderall.
If Adderall is, in fact, the culprit, then Seattle’s problem is they gravitate towards players with ADHD, but I suspect that’s not really the case. Below is a look at Seattle’s drug use before and after the hire of Pete Carroll,1 which I believe, demonstrates a systemic problem within the locker room of the Seahawks. One that, at best, tacitly accepts PED drug use, and at worse, endorses their use. So I’ll let you decide.
But first, two caveats: all data was pulled from from this Wikipedia entry. The obvious Wikipedia criticisms and concerns aside, it’s the most complete list I could find. If you know of one better, leave a note in the comments and I’d be happy to update the data. The second caveat is I treated “indefinite suspensions” as 16 games, because if Gregg Williams was back after a full season, anyone can. It’s not a perfect handling of the situation, but it’ll do in a pinch.
Now to the data visualization!
Photo via Alex Dodd