Sportswriters Let Brian Cushing Keep His Award

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Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing tested positive for a substance banned by the NFL. But it won’t prevent him from keeping his award.

So says the narrow consensus from the AP’s group of 50 sports writers. Despite using an NFL-banned fertility substance last September, Cushing retained his Defensive Rookie of the Year honor in a revote on Wednesday.

The reason for that revote? The concerns associated with granting a player a prestigious award, who was just shelved for four games for breaking the league’s rule.

Is Cushing’s drug flub a groundbreaking mistake in the NFL? Far from it, considering a) several players have received honors in lieu of tainted seasons and b) another issue is at hand. As the Sacramento Bee’s Paul Gutierrez points out, why did the NFL wait until May to levy the suspension?

As the AP revote reveals, Cushing’s transgression was enough to switch 21 voters away from his corner. But it wasn’t enough to make him lose the hardware.

Is there a problem with that notion? Take it away, democracy:’s Alex Marvez, who switched his vote to Buffalo Bills free safety Jairus Byrd: “I needed to see and hear sincerity in Cushing’s face and voice if I were to entertain the possibility of once again voting him the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.”

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen: “To repeat, I abstained. I was not comfortable voting for Cushing.”

The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain, who stayed with Cushing through both votes: “I watch Cushing every day in practice and I see how hard he works.”

And as for Brian Cushing himself?: “I was just glad to hear the news, that people stuck by me,” he told the AP. “Very honored.”

Where do you stand?