On December 28, the NFL announced it was suspending Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin four games for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. The two-time Pro Bowler will miss the team’s final regular season game, with the suspension carrying over to the next season.
“I was notified last week of a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy. My initial instinct was to appeal the suspension and finish the season with my teammates. However, after numerous discussions with people close to me — including Coach Koetter — I am starting the suspension immediately so I can enter a treatment facility and receive the help I truly need. On the field, I must be strong and determined to push through both pain and injuries to become an elite NFL running back. Off the field, I have tried that same approach in my personal life. My shortcomings in this area have taught me both that I cannot win these personal battles alone and that there is no shame in asking for help.”
By opting to not appeal and instead focus his time and energy on recovery, Martin is making the right choice of confronting his disease head-on. As most athletes with similar issues elect to deny or fight failed drug tests, this honesty and courage is virtually unprecedented. Martin’s teammates and coaches have rallied behind their star player, showing support for his decision to put football on hold and take back his life.
“I’m just glad he saw a situation where he needed help and he went and did it,” offensive lineman Evan Smith said. “A lot of us in the league, maybe our egos, our personalities, us thinking how we’ve gotten where we [are] — we’ve done it on our own, we’ve done it through hard work. It takes a big man to step up and say, ‘I need help.’ Sometimes those issues are bigger than we can [overcome] as a football player, as an athlete. [These] are common problems that people deal with in real life.”
As the passing of George Michael has recently shown us, nobody, no matter their status, is immune to addiction. Serenity Springs Recovery Center applauds Martin for taking the action necessary to overcome his addiction to live a happy and healthy life. Although Martin wasn’t admitted to Serenity Springs, we hope that he is introduced to the solution and achieves eternal sobriety. We hope that his humility and acceptance will serve as an example to all other professional athletes who come to understand that they too are addicts who need help.
If you or somebody you know is struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism, please contact Serenity Springs immediately.