SBD/Issue 36/Franchises

Texans' McNair Takes Proactive Approach To Clean Up Locker Room

McNair (r) Authorized Officials To
Look For Banned Substances

Texans Owner Bob McNair recently "recommended his players throw out anything in their lockers that wasn’t approved by the NFL" after the team lost "two players to NFL suspensions this season," according to John McClain of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. McNair, GM Rick Smith and coach Gary Kubiak "believe they have reduced the risk of another player being suspended." Kubiak said, "In this business, it’s hard enough to overcome injuries, and when guys miss games for other reasons, you should take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/30). USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell noted the Texans are "believed to be the first team to have staff members physically remove any such products." McNair said, "We've gone through the locker room and anything that wasn't manufactured by the two or three that are authorized are thrown out. They can't have it in the locker room at all. Even though it might be something that's pretty innocuous, you just can't run that risk. You just don't know what's in some of these products." McNair said that the "locker room sweep turned up some products that could include banned substances." He would not "identify the players or substances involved in the cases -- and there are no other known cases pending with the league regarding violations of the policy" (USATODAY.com, 10/28).

ANOTHER SIDE TO THE STORY: SI's Peter King writes the reports of the Texans "doing drug sweeps in the wake of two of their players being suspended this year for testing positive for PEDs are a little off-base." The Texans "met with their players and told them the only supplements they wanted to see on the premises were NFL-approved supplements." Team officials "did a visual inspection, though not very close and involved, to make sure players were complying." Smith said that if a player "had unapproved supplements behind a door in his locker, for instance, the team wouldn't have gone in there to inspect." Smith: "We didn't go down there and search through lockers. We just wanted players to know the only way you could avoid testing positive for sure would be to only take the NFL-approved supplements'' (SI.com, 11/1).

THE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT? ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky wrote the way Texans officials "went about things seems clumsy," and it "created a situation where players could feel their bosses didn’t trust them and invaded their privacy." Team officials "could have gone through lockers with players present, explaining what they were trying to do and getting the same results without leaving any room for issues regarding trust and privacy." Kuharsky added, "I’m shocked the NFLPA didn’t respond immediately" (ESPN.com, 10/30). In Houston, Richard Justice wrote, "Finally, we have an owner willing to stand up and tell the world he's sick and tired of cheats." McNair had to be "embarrassed that his team was leading the NFL in players testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and instead of wringing his hands, he did something about it." Justice: "If one player complains, we will learn more about that player than about McNair. McNair sent the right message. Good for him" (CHRON.com, 10/29).

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