In an emotional video posted on Twitter Friday, Panthers Linebacker Thomas Davis announced that he has tested positive for a banned substance and faces a four game suspension to start the 2018 season.
Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis has spent his entire 13-year pro career playing in Carolina. In an interview with Brooke Cersosimo of NFL.com this past January, he announced that his 14th season this coming fall would be his last. Shortly after, the Panthers official twitter account shared a picture of Davis captioned only by the word ‘Respect.’
Earlier this afternoon, Davis himself took to Twitter to share a message that echoed the somberness of the tweet his team had shared four months earlier, but for very different reasons. In a two-minute video, he announced that he had tested positive for a banned substance and will be facing a four-game suspension to start the season this fall.
As he delivered the message, the 35-year-old, three-time Pro Bowler was visibly distraught, pausing several times to collect himself and find the right words. Following his admission, he described the circumstances of the positive test, and defended himself as he also acknowledged the negative impact this might have on fans and those who looked up to him.
I’ve never tested positive for steroids or HGH. This is not one of those situations. It ended up being an estrogen blocker that triggered a positive test for me. I just want you guys to know that in no way would I ever do anything to cheat this game or try to create a competitive advantage over anybody.
I can honestly tell you guys that my conscience is clear in this situation,” Davis said. “And as bad as it hurts me to sit here and tell you guys this, I know it’s going to hurt a lot of people that have looked up and believed in Thomas Davis over the years.
It was an apology, a defense, an explanation, an acknowledgement and a plea all wrapped into one statement. It wasn’t rehearsed, pre-scripted, or prepared by a PR team.
It’s tough to give someone the benefit of the doubt after a failed drug test like this. But if there’s anyone who deserves it, I’d have a hard time not saying that it’s Thomas Davis.
He’s played 13 seasons, is the franchise’s all time leader in tackles. He’s come back from three torn ACLs, and played Super Bowl 50 with a broken arm that took a metal plate and eleven screws to hold in place under a bulky cast (without deer antler spray).
Davis was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2014 for his work creating and growing the Defending Dreams Foundation (TDDDF), a non-profit dedicated to providing and promoting free programs that enhance the quality of life for more than 2,000 underprivileged children and their families.
Davis is as respected as anyone in his locker room, across the league and in the Charlotte community. All for good reason.
We’ve been burned so many times by athletes pleading their innocence only to watch a mountain of bold-faced lies come crashing down. But I still want to believe Thomas Davis here, and I hope he’s somehow vindicated. And if not, I hope this doesn’t create too glaring a blemish on a decade-plus career of laying it all out on the field every time he put on the pads and doing so much good off it.