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25th of May 2018

Sport



Mark Ingram 'vigorously' challenging suspension; here's why he claims he should win

The Saints running game took a big blow on Tuesday afternoon when it was announced Mark Ingram would be suspended the first four games of the 2018 season. Also a loser in this situation? Mark Ingram's hopes for a new contract.

However, Ingram's representation issued a statement on Wednesday indicating this will not be the last we've heard of Ingram's battle with the NFL about whether or not he should be suspended.

More specifically, the statement claims that Ingram, while he did test positive, did not test positive for a performance-enhancing substance, but rather "a substance in fact permissible" with an NFL exemption. 

"At the end of the 2017 season, as a result of a NFL mandated drug test, Mark Ingram tested positive for a substance that was not a performance-enhancing substance, but a substance in fact permissible with the proper use exemption with the NFL. He has vigorously challenged the test results through the arbitration process. The arbitrator's Opinion is due on or before Wednesday, May 16. Upon having the opportunity to review the arbitrator's opinion, we will explore what further options are needed."

In a statement from Mark Ingram’s reps, it reads:

Mark Ingram tested positive for a substance that was not a performance enhancing substance, nor an illegal substance, but a substance in fact permissible with the proper use exemption with the NFL pic.twitter.com/mvYeozV3OK

— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) May 9, 2018

Without trying to play the role of pharmacist here, it sure does sound like this could be something that would classify as a PED, but also something that is prescribed by a doctor and, therefore, if the NFL is alerted ahead of time and the player is given the exemption to use it, perfectly legal under NFL standards. 

Back in 2013, then-Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was suspended for taking Adderall, but later had his suspension overturned. After the fact, Sherman said there are a lot of players in the league who are prescribed the ADD medication. (A newspaper claimed he said "over half" but Sherman later denied it.) We saw plenty of features on the drug at the time, but it's sort of cooled down recently in terms of a thing people talk about around the NFL. 

Not saying this is what Ingram was suspended for, but it's a similar situation in that he apparently believes he is cleared to use whatever he was suspended for by the NFL. 

If that's the case, or if there was a situation where he had a mishandled sample, etc., we could easily see Ingram back on the field for Week 1.

One problem: it seems odd the case would go to an arbitrator if Ingram has a permission slip (for lack of a better phrase) to use whatever he got popped for. Maybe that's just the protocol and it could be that this time next week we're talking about Ingram's suspension being overturned. 

It could also be another fun offseason of seeing a prominent NFL running back battle the league in court over a suspension. It's hard to believe this is the second-weirdest thing to happen to Ingram this offseason.

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