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Brian Cushing says he didn’t take a steroid, but what he says doesn’t matter

On Friday, word emerged that Texans linebacker Brian Cushing will be suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season after violating the league’s policy regarding anabolic steroids and related substances.

Cushing now claims that he did not take an “anabolic steroid,” but one of the “related substances.”

I did not take a steroid,” Cushing told Jay Glazer of FOX. “I’m very disappointed because I thought we would’ve won the appeal. I’m still stunned by the decision. It’ll be tough not being with my teammates.”

As we’ve previously pointed out, both with respect to Cushing and other players, the confidentiality of the testing program allows anyone who tests positive to say anything he wants regarding what he did or didn’t take, since the NFL never discloses the specific substance for which the player tested positive. So for all anyone knows, Cushing was actively taking steroids (we’re not saying that he was), concealing his steroids use with a masking agent, and somehow slipped up.

And now, if he wants, he can tell Glazer and anyone else who’ll listen that the 2009 defensive rookie of the year wasn’t aided in that achievement by a “steroid.”

But, really, it doesn’t matter. The NFL has identified a list of steroids and other substances that, if taken, constitute cheating. And Cushing was caught with one of those substances in his system. And so he necessarily was cheating.

Glazer apparently agrees with our logic. “In today’s NFL guys have to be fully responsible for what goes in their bodies,” Glazer said via Twitter. “I don’t care if it was steroidal or not, it’s on the player!”

Glazer also isn’t happy with Cushing, pointing out that the FOX NFL insider and his partner in MMAthletics, Randy Couture, are “extremely pissed about the whole mess, just being associated [with] any of this crap.”

As pointed out in Glazer’s item for, “Cushing was hounded by rumors of performance-enhancing drug use before he became a pro.” Those rumors have now come to fruition. Steroid or not, Cushing necessarily has taken performance-enhancing drugs.

The guys who took StarCaps had a compelling explanation, since it was an over-the-counter substance that had been spiked with a prescription medication -- and since the league knew about it and said nothing to the NFLPA, the FDA, or anyone else. Cushing’s explanation to Glazer isn’t compelling.

To apply a mild twist to one of Forrest Gump’s pearls of wisdom, cheating is as cheating does. And Cushing, barring a damn good explanation other than “I didn’t take steroids,” is a cheater.

Case closed.

Moving forward, the question will be whether he performs at the same level without taking whatever it was that he took.