Josh Evans: Up In Smoke?
By Mark Hove
Jets Senior Writer
June 10th, 2003
If Josh Evans' appeal is rejected, he could be gone for good from the NFL
If Josh Evans' appeal is rejected, he could be gone for good from the NFL
Do you really care whether or not Josh Evans smoked marijuana?

I am not asking whether you care that he may be banned from playing for the New York Jets for smoking marijuana. I am asking you to ask yourself if you truly care whether or not Josh Evans smoked marijuana.

Clearly, the NFL cares. And when you think about it, you have to wonder why.

This writer is no advocate for illicit drug use. Far from it. Nor is this a defense of the alleged actions of Mr. Evans. Its just that when one steps back and looks at Josh Evans situation in the broad context of the NFL -- and major league sports in general -- something smells funny.

Yes, outside of a few giddy, vision-impaired west-coasters, smoking pot is illegal. Is that why the NFL cares? Because its against the law?

Well, speeding down the highway in a tricked out Humvee or a low-riding Lexus is illegal too -- and there are plenty of instances of NFL players pinning the needle and getting nabbed for it, only to suffer consequences no more significant than a summons and a small blurb about it buried somewhere in the daily rag.

So which act has more potential for harming innocent victims?

You really cannot argue with the assertion that there is a much greater chance that a sober speeder could easily hurt or kill someone else than could a guy who is temporarily chemically inclined to want nothing more than to lie down on the sofa, pop in a DVD and scarf down a family-sized bag of Doritos.

Okay, so perhaps the justification for suspension is not the illegality of the act.

Maybe the NFL is in the business of creating role models for todays kids. No, on second thought, that cant be it. If that were the case, then the league would never stand for the still-rampant unsportsmanlike, look-at-me, NFL Fever-glorified actions and grossly materialistic, narcissistic off-field lifestyles of some of their biggest-name players. Because arent those displays just as damaging to little Johnnys or Janies ability to grow up into upstanding athletes and citizens?

Well then, if it is not the illegality, and its not the kiddie role model angle, it must be that the NFL is keen on setting a higher moral standard for all of us fans. Umm...yeah. Okay. Tell me that as I am reaching to cover my sons eyes when the NFLs cash-cow sponsors get their 30-second crack at his impressionable psyche, only to show two virtually naked bimbos wrestling in wet concrete, pausing only to "make out." (Note to beer companies: you keep on making the commercials. Covering my sons eyes is a sacrifice I am willing to make.)

Nope. "Higher moral standard" and "scantily-clad, latex-enhanced botox-babes swinging pompons on the sidelines" just dont jibe.

So then, whats the beef? Is it that reefer may somehow be a performance-enhancing drug? Not unless you are in a cheeseburger eating contest.

Is it that the NFL truly cares about the health and well-being of its players? Well, on some self-serving level they may. But then again these guys wear numbers for a reason.

Here we have a guy that gets paid to maul people. That is his job. And he stands to lose it because he may have smoked a pinny cigarette in the privacy of his own home -- something no one except perhaps his downwind neighbor would ever have known about if not for the NFLs 10-times-a-month urinspection.

It is no small irony that -- at least until DeWayne Robertson wrests away his spot on the line -- Josh Evans is plugged into the Warren Sapp slot in the Jets Tampa-style defense. Sapp, who is rumored to have failed 7 drug tests while at Miami -- and himself admits to failing at least two -- is one of the NFLs highest profile stars, and is probably polishing his recently-earned championship ring right now.

Shoot, baseballs World Champion 1986 Mets were a veritable Studio 54 on wheels by many accounts. They all got their rings. And some of the more notable offenders have front-office jobs and high-profile sportscaster positions to this day.

If the allegations against Josh Evans are true, what he did was wrong. And under his circumstances, what he did was incredibly stupid. When it is all said and done, however, what he did is none of our business.

Should his pending appeal be rejected by the NFL, Mr. Evans is facing a lengthy if not permanent imposed vacation. And the Jets will see some critical depth on their potentially dominating defensive line go up in smoke. Will the NFL be better off?

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The preceding editorial does not necessarily reflect the opinions of