Why Will Grier should win his appeal

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With an extra week before the Georgia game to mull things over, the question has been bouncing around between members of the Gator Nation, and only gets asked louder each time it’s asked: does Will Grier have a chance to win his appeal against the NCAA?

That is an excellent question, and one that I don’t know the answer to because the NCAA has proven to be highly unpredictable with this kind of thing. But what I do know- what I believe from the bottom of my heart- is that he should.

First, I’d like to establish that “winning the appeal” means getting his suspension shortened, likely just through the end of the 2015 season. He did do something wrong, and has admitted as such, so the NCAA will almost certainly not reinstate him this year. The goal is to get him back for next year.

Now then: yes, what Grier did was a violation of NCAA rules, because he took a supplement that has a banned substance in it. But he was doing so wholly by accident, as opposed to taking it to gain an unfair advantage over his opponents.

Season long punishments should, in my opinion, be reserved for PED users like Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa, and that group. Those guys took steroids with the clear intention to gain what the MLB deemed an unfair advantage over their opponents. Had Grier been healthy, taken steroids for no reason other than simply to get stronger and put on more muscle, that would be not only a clear violation of NCAA rules, but an egregious effort to try to gain said unfair advantage. But since that wasn’t the case, the NCAA is put at a crossroads.

If the NCAA keeps their season long suspension of Grier for what seems to be a clear and honest mistake, they are doing one of two things: they are either telling future student athletes that positive drug tests with motives similar to McGwire and Sosa will result in punishments that are exponentially worse than a ban for the rest of the season (i.e. something between a two season ban and a permanent loss of scholarship) or they are saying that they simply don’t care for the nature of the offense, and that Brian Bosworth had them pegged right when he wore this shirt on the sideline for the 1987 Orange Bowl.

The one year suspension is also wholly unfair when stacked up against those administered to violators of other sorts of rules.

Let’s compare Grier’s punishment to those that some other Gators have faced for doing things that are, from a moral standpoint, far worse. What Grier did does not in any way have a detrimental affect on anybody around him, yet people who do things that do carry damaging results for other people are essentially let off the hook.

In 2010, Florida’s Chris Rainey literally told his girlfriend that it was time for her to die, and wound up being suspended for one month. Brandon Spikes was suspended for one half of a game for trying to take a poke at a player’s eyes. LSU defensive back Jalen Mills was suspended one game for punching somebody outside his apartment. These are just three examples of hundreds of thousands of laws broken by college football players who were subsequently punished less harshly than Grier is scheduled to be (though those punishments are usually doled out by the schools, but still… the school-imposed suspensions cause them to miss games just like NCAA suspensions do. Suspensions are suspensions). And you don’t have to look far to other find other governing sports bodies who seem to care for others’ welfare even less, as evidenced by Ray Rice’s two game suspension for decking his fiancé in an elevator.

The fact that players’ arrests are punished by the school (usually) and not the NCAA is irrelevant. The fact is that these players did things that violated laws. And so if the NCAA suspends Grier for the full year, the message they’ll be sending is that it’s at least three times and much as fifteen times worse to accidentally take performance enhancing drugs than it is to cause or threaten to cause physical damage to the body of another human being, pending the results of the Gators’ season. Do the math yourself; if the suspension holds, Grier will miss between 13 games (as Florida is guaranteed to play in a bowl game) to 15 games (if they reach the SEC Championship, make the playoff and win the semifinal game). Rainey’s four game absence is, mathematically, less than one third as severe the minimum of 13 games Grier is set to miss with the current suspension, and Mills’ suspension of one game is one fifteenth as harsh as the 15 game maximum Grier is facing.

Make no mistake, Grier did something he shouldn’t have done. But he’s guilty of being ignorant and thoughtless as opposed to malicious and a cheater. And I implore the NCAA to recognize that before making their decision, so they don’t teach kids around the country the wrong-headed lesson that truly honest mistakes about taking over the counter drugs are several times worse than assaulting fellow human beings. The NCAA is supposed to be a gateway to the real world, after all, and this is not an accurate representation of society’s values and moral code.

Please, NCAA. Use common sense. You have a chance to do the right thing here. Do it.

26 thoughts on “Why Will Grier should win his appeal

  1. While I agree the punishment does not fit the action, this is the one sentence that is questionable ” But he was doing so wholly by accident, as opposed to taking it to gain an unfair advantage over his opponents.” If he knew he was supposed to take everything to the medical staff and didn’t, that would lend me to believe it was not by accident. Hopefully, the NCAA will reduce his sentence.

  2. I sympathize, and hope that Townsend’s confidence is well-placed, but a big part of the draconian punishment Grier got isn’t just about him, but deterrence for the 100,000 D1 student athletes out there, all of whom, by now, have heard about this from the news and their compliance staff. “If this can happen to the starting QB at Florida, it can and will happen to you if you screw up.”

  3. The punishment is different because he took a banned substance that gives him an unfair advantage on the field. While I agree that it should be less, your logic is flawed and nothing in your article really speaks to any reason he should win his appeal.

    1. By accident, yes, he did. Also, tell me exactly what is flawed about this:

      “Season long punishments should, in my opinion, be reserved for PED users like Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa, and that group. Those guys took steroids with the clear intention to gain what the MLB deemed an unfair advantage over their opponents. Had Grier been healthy, taken steroids for no reason other than simply to get stronger and put on more muscle, that would be not only a clear violation of NCAA rules, but an egregious effort to try to gain said unfair advantage.”

      1. He’s been in the program over a year. McElwain was very specific that all players are told to consult with staff.

        It doesn’t seem like an accident.

      2. While I agree the punishment should be less… what I was explaining was the reason it is different than an illegal drug like marijuana. Marijuana does not give the player an advantage on the field while a PED even taken accidently does. There also are processes in place for this to be avoided and Grier choose not to use that process. As I said… he should be suspended for the rest of 2015, but allowed back for the 2016 season.

  4. How do you know what Will Grier took? How do you know his intentions?
    What are your sources Neil Shulman? What is the banned substance?
    Why can’t he simply state what he used and where he bought it?
    If he bought some NyQuil or Muscle Milk, then we are with you 100%.
    Go Gators!

    1. I don’t know what Will Grier took. Never once did I claim that I do. And I believe Grier that he took it accidentally, because he’s well aware of the punishments that stem from PED usage. If he did do it intentionally, then he’s a Class A dumbass. Which I refuse to believe.

      I will give you one thing, though. You do raise an excellent point with this: “Why can’t he simply state what he used and where he bought it?” I’d like an answer to that, too.

      1. I think the time frame is important. It was my understanding that true PED users took he substance over a certain amount of time, I have no idea how long that mite be but if he took whatever it was to self treat himself for the flu I would imagine he would have only taken a few doses. I know I’m not being very clear but do you see what I’m saying?

      2. They won’t announce what he took because he doesn’t want High School kids to think they can go out and purchase it and make them better. If that happened then the company that makes the product wins while everyone else involved loses.

        1. I don’t know if it’s as altruistic as that but there is validity to it; roid users commonly have OTC stuff on display and boy oh boy did Andro get a huge sales boost because of McGwire

  5. I’m not a big Twitter guy, but someone’s got to get #BozHadItRight going and maybe even trending (if that’s how Twitter works, anyway)

  6. I’m a Gator fan to the bone, but I’m having a hard time with the idea that his penalty should be lessened based solely on the grounds that other infractions cary a lesser suspension. There is no justification in reducing a suspension simply because breaking other rules gets you a lesser suspension. I’m sure everyone is aware of the penalties ahead of time. He did the crime, he does the time and it sucks. Penalties are supposed to suck. If anything should change, let’s get all those seemingly petty, yet in my opinion completely unacceptable, violations carrying stiffer suspensions. Has everyone forgotten playing a college sport is a privaledge. If they are willing to sacrifice all their hard work by making a careless mistake, or in some cases committing a crime, I think the penalties should be stiff. Will stood up, took responsibility for his actions, and behaved like a responsible adult. It’s time for Gator fans to do the same. Sorry, not sorry.

  7. When you were listing off violations of NCAA players, you left off Jameis Winston and some other FSU football players. They caused thousands of dollars in damage at an apartment complex outside the school while having a pellet gun shootout, stole other student’s vehicles, and, in the case of Winston, raped someone (but because Tallahassee PD botched the evidence up, he was never charged).

    1. Not too bright, are you? There is zero evidence to bolster a word you say. But I guess that doesn’t matter to someone that doesn’t need evidence. I think you need to move to another country where an accusation is all that’s needed to put someone in prison. Thank god Florida has progressed from the racist state it used to be. If it was up to you, and your kind, Winston would have been executed by now. I bet you didn’t know that Florida used to execute people for rape in the 20th century, and almost every one was Black. All it took was for a white woman to make the accusation, unless you believe a Black man was going to get a fair trial, particularly in North Florida. It continually amazes me how ignorant some people are, and you are one of those that doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.

  8. This article is flawed for the simple fact that you dont know what Grier took and you dont know that it was an “accident”. Grier never stated what he took…. if he did it by mistake… he would have say i took Xxx supplement to deal with the flu. My bad. He didnt. These kids can pretty much get any medical stuff for free….so that fact he went out and supposely bought an over the counter supplement.. come on. The guy got caught. People take supplements and people take banned substances… sucks he happen to be a gator… but got to be objective about the issue.

  9. There should be a difference between legal, over-the-counter drugs and illegal drugs. There should be a difference between drugs sold specifically for performance enhancement and medical conditions like cold remedies. However, until someone says what he took and where he got it, it hard to form a reasonable opinion on the punishment.

  10. I also would like to know exactly what Will took, when he took it and where he got it from. If for no other reason than to prevent other athletes from making the same mistake! This Gator fan is bleeding a LOT of Orange and Blue over this terrible situation. GO GATORS!!!!!!!

  11. Does anyone really believes he paid for medicine for the flu…lile he couldnt get that for free on campus.. i feel bad for the kid because his chance of ever being the starter is that much tougher if the suspension of 1 calender year holds. Especially if treon leads this team to a respectable record at the end of the season.

  12. Grier cheated and he doesn’t warrant anything but suffering the consequences of his actions. To say he “mistakenly” did something is a lot of B.S. He took a substance to cheat, end of story. You can tell when someone is taking steroids, which Grier was doing, in my opinion. Something about the skin being almost transparent is almost always a dead giveaway. Look at pictures of Grier. Look at his neck, in particular, it tells you he is a steroid user. He’s lying, yes I said it, when he did something wrong by mistake. Why anyone would believe him after he got caught is either naivete or wishful thinking. Unless you think Grier is a moron, it’s hard to explain why he would take something without getting it cleared by Florida. players are repeatedly told to do so from the first time, and even before, they step on campus. He cheated to gain an unfair advantage, and is being accordingly punished. The lawyer can say what he wants, but remember lawyers never tell the truth and he’s getting paid to put a positive spin on a clear cut case of a guy getting caught cheating. Unless there is some type of technical violation in the process, Grier’s goose is cooked, as it should be with any player that takes steroids. Face the facts. Grier is a cheater or a moron. In either case, there is absolutely zero reason he should be cut any slack, and I’m sure he won’t be regardless of how long an attorney will attempt to milk it for ore money in his pocket. Why even talk about Grier? He’s an embarrassment to UF right now. I believe in second chance, and he should be given one after his suspension ends, but he’s a cheater and should be treated accordingly.

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