In an offseason filled with headlines at the receiver position in particular, one newsworthy item of a different nature was the six-game suspension handed down to DeAndre Hopkins. The cause of the ban – a prohibited substance being found in his bloodstream – remains a talking point for multiple reasons.
Hopkins was suspended for having Ostarine in his system. It was originally reported, however, he had also tested positive for a diuretic or masking agent. A statement from the NFLPA refutes that allegation, though. It reads in part: “Hopkins never tested positive for any diuretic or masking agent and there was absolutely no evidence of any attempt to substitute, dilute or adulterate any specimen or any attempt to manipulate a test” (Twitter link via Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson).
Hopkins – who at one point considered appealing his suspension in large part due to the fact that a fraction over 0.1% of the substance was found, and maintains that he is unsure how it entered his body – is using his situation as a means to speak out against the NFL’s PED policy writ large. “I’ve never taken any of that kind of stuff,” he said, via ArizonaSports’ Alex Weiner. “If you know about what it is, it can be in shampoo, it can be in a lot of different things. Obviously the NFL is very black and white, so of course, I wish the rule wasn’t so black and white. It is what it is.
“It’s hard to know what you can eat, what you can do when you’re not in control of manufacturing anything or what goes through a conveyor belt… So, obviously, I do think that rules should change. But like I said, that stuff, it’ll work itself out, and I’ve never taken anything. I barely take vitamins.”
The 30-year-old is also rehabbing from an MCL injury which cut his 2021 campaign short. He is expected to recover in time to take the field after his ban ends, but at least until then, his absence and the circumstances surrounding it are likely to remain contentious.