Probably more than anyone else in the NFL today, Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez would have benefited dramatically if he had cheated and used Human Growth Hormone (HGH) to recover quicker from the injuries that have robbed him of two NFL seasons. He could have gone the and 'roided up' (an inaccurate phrase technically, but appropriate thematically) after sustaining injury in an effort to speed up the recovery process and get back on the field. route
Heck, many fans and media people would have even applauded him if he did it.
But, from how Gonzo sounds in Bob Kravitz's article this morning in the Indianapolis Star, he has never used HGH. In fact, not only hasn't he used it, but he basically called anyone who does a cheater. He is very much in favor of the NFL's new random HGH testing program that will be implemented this year, and he think it will help make the game 'less violent.' Here's a portion of the article, emphasis mine:
"To think it (HGH) isn't out there is really ignorant when you consider what can be gained by it with very little risk of getting caught," Gonzalez said.
"Before testing, the only way you got caught was if you were arrested with it or ended up on a supplier list."
He added, "If I could give someone on Wall Street a pill that gives them all the intelligence they need to beat the market -- a little bit like (the movie) 'Limitless' -- and it was illegal but there was no fear of getting caught, I can promise you there would be people lined up around the block for that pill."
If you were Gonzalez, and you had played just three games in two years because of injuries, and your team president publicly called you "a slow healer," wouldn't there be ample incentive to go the growth-hormone route?
Gonzalez said he has never been approached by anybody affiliated with the Colts, but people in his life have suggested he use HGH to help him in what he calls "a system that rewards fast healers."
"They say, 'Hey, I don't know why you're not using it; you won't get caught,' " he said. "But not getting caught is not the reason to do something."
My respect for Gonzo just shot up about 1,000%.
The Kravitz article is one of his best, and, as always, Anthony Gonzalez continues to demonstrate why he is much more than just an average, injury-prone football player. He is intelligent, thoughtful, and seemingly fearless when it comes to talking the truth to the media.
Many of us recall last year around this time when he all but called Jim Caldwell a liar as he spoke honestly of how he was promised one thing, but then told another in regards to the 'open competition' for the starting wide receiver position.
This year, Gonzo is speaking openly about HGH testing, and how it is long overdue. Gonzo again, emphasis mine:
"How many guys are on it, that's hard to say," Gonzalez said. "It could be 10, it could be a hundred or more; either way, it's too much. But around the league, you see guys on Sunday, and things don't add up; they don't look right. I see guys I saw in college, now they're in the NFL and they look totally different.
Gonzo goes on to say that the new testing program is good for the league, and that several Colts players are in favor of it.
Let's once again establish the rules, for those of you who might argue against Gonzo's take:
- Taking HGH is against the rules in the NFL. Period. No exceptions (unless the league clears its use in an extreme medical circumstances).
- Taking an illegal substance in an effort to gain a competitive advantage is, by definition, cheating. Doesn't matter the intentions. Injury recovery is EVERYTHING in football, and if people are taking HGH (banned substance) in an effort to get back onto the field faster (competitive advantage), that is cheating.
- Acquiring HGH without a prescription is against the law.
For me, I applaud Gonzo for his honesty and his integrity. Those qualities should be valued more than anyone's ability to run fast or catch passes over the middle.
Also, this is just my opinion, but if any member of the Colts is caught with HGH in their system, management should cut the player. This includes Peyton Manning. If someone like Manning is 'juiced,' he will rightly be tagged as a fraud, and all his records and accomplishments would, for me, become tainted. I am an absolutist in this regard. You're either clean, or you're a fraud. No in-between.
Something also to consider: It is possible that one of the reasons the Colts are 'always hurt' is because many of the players aren't using this stuff. We rail about injuries, but maybe the reason they happen, and players stay down for as long as they do, is because the Colts are clean. I certainly hope so.
Bravo Gonzo! Keep talking truth.