AP Sports Editor: Cushing re-vote ‘best thing to do’

After news broke that Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing had tested positive for a banned substance and would be suspended for four games, the the Associated Press announced it would hold a new vote for Defensive Rookie of the Year and All-Pro Outside Linebacker, both honors that Cushing received for the 2009 season. AP Sports Editor Terry Taylor joined Joe and Evan on WFAN in New York to discuss the decision.

To listen to the interview, go to Sports Radio Interviews.

Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing was suspended four games by the NFL after he tested positive for a banned substance.
Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing was suspended four games by the NFL after he tested positive for a banned substance.

Why did the AP decide to hold another vote for those awards?

Taylor: Here’s what we did. As you know, this broke on Friday, where he said that he did take a banned-non-steroid substance. Whatever it was and it wasn’t named, it’s still considered a performance enhancing drug by the NFL. He lost his appeal. He’s got a four-game suspension.

This was very deliberate. We’ve never done this at the AP. This was unprecedented. It took a long time. It took an entire shift. It was about eight hours by the time we talked it out with senior editors.

I have to tell you, in case there are any questions, there was no single voter who called and said, "Hey, you’d better do this." There was no demand from any voter – and there are 50 of them.

But the whole basis of a vote, whether it’s college basketball, college football, or the NFL awards that we do, is an informed vote. It’s on-field performance. In this case – we can talk about Julius Peppers and Shawne Merriman – but in this case, they didn’t know. They didn’t know until long after they cast their ballot that there was a suspension, there was what was considered an infraction, and then the penalty was handed down and he said yes, he took something…

We thought the best thing to do was to put it out there again and leave his name on there.

When has enough time passed that it’s too late to re-vote?

Taylor: This is something we’re going to have to sit down and figure out. There is no retroactive vote. This is a fresh vote. This is from the season in which we last gave our awards. This is a fresh set of votes. The NFL awards, they came out in January. We had nothing in place. We’ve never encountered this before.

Does Taylor foresee this happening again?

Taylor: I can tell you, from what went into the decision yesterday, I surely hope not. If I may say this, I don’t think so and I hope not…

I really do think there is less tolerance from everybody out there – the leagues, the public, and that includes the media – for steroids, PEDs, everything. We have all lived through the headlines. This is me speaking, I am not speaking for any of the voters here, but I think there is much more of an awareness out there of these things and I think there is much more of a reaction to it.

Can Taylor shed light on the process that led to this decision?

Taylor: It’s very deliberate. I am the sports editor. I have a number of senior managers at the AP. They were all informed yesterday. And this is the decision of AP senior editors. We were all in agreement on this. It’s not something you just want to rush out and do. It took all of the day yesterday to talk about this and the significance of this and to just go out and do it. We thought it was the fair thing to do. It’s the accountable thing to do.

What will happen if Cushing does not win the re-vote?

Taylor: It’s a title. There was no monetary award with this. He just relinquishes his title as the rookie defensive award winner.

After news broke that Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing had tested positive for a banned substance and would be suspended for four games, the the Associated Press announced it would hold a new vote for Defensive Rookie of the Year and All-Pro Outside Linebacker, both honors that Cushing received for the 2009 season. AP Sports Editor Terry Taylor joined Joe and Evan on WFAN in New York to discuss the decision.

To listen to the interview, go to Sports Radio Interviews.

Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing was suspended four games by the NFL after he tested positive for a banned substance.
Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing was suspended four games by the NFL after he tested positive for a banned substance.

Why did the AP decide to hold another vote for those awards?

Taylor: Here’s what we did. As you know, this broke on Friday, where he said that he did take a banned-non-steroid substance. Whatever it was and it wasn’t named, it’s still considered a performance enhancing drug by the NFL. He lost his appeal. He’s got a four-game suspension.

This was very deliberate. We’ve never done this at the AP. This was unprecedented. It took a long time. It took an entire shift. It was about eight hours by the time we talked it out with senior editors.

I have to tell you, in case there are any questions, there was no single voter who called and said, "Hey, you’d better do this." There was no demand from any voter – and there are 50 of them.

But the whole basis of a vote, whether it’s college basketball, college football, or the NFL awards that we do, is an informed vote. It’s on-field performance. In this case – we can talk about Julius Peppers and Shawne Merriman – but in this case, they didn’t know. They didn’t know until long after they cast their ballot that there was a suspension, there was what was considered an infraction, and then the penalty was handed down and he said yes, he took something…

We thought the best thing to do was to put it out there again and leave his name on there.

When has enough time passed that it’s too late to re-vote?

Taylor: This is something we’re going to have to sit down and figure out. There is no retroactive vote. This is a fresh vote. This is from the season in which we last gave our awards. This is a fresh set of votes. The NFL awards, they came out in January. We had nothing in place. We’ve never encountered this before.

Does Taylor foresee this happening again?

Taylor: I can tell you, from what went into the decision yesterday, I surely hope not. If I may say this, I don’t think so and I hope not…

I really do think there is less tolerance from everybody out there – the leagues, the public, and that includes the media – for steroids, PEDs, everything. We have all lived through the headlines. This is me speaking, I am not speaking for any of the voters here, but I think there is much more of an awareness out there of these things and I think there is much more of a reaction to it.

Can Taylor shed light on the process that led to this decision?

Taylor: It’s very deliberate. I am the sports editor. I have a number of senior managers at the AP. They were all informed yesterday. And this is the decision of AP senior editors. We were all in agreement on this. It’s not something you just want to rush out and do. It took all of the day yesterday to talk about this and the significance of this and to just go out and do it. We thought it was the fair thing to do. It’s the accountable thing to do.

What will happen if Cushing does not win the re-vote?

Taylor: It’s a title. There was no monetary award with this. He just relinquishes his title as the rookie defensive award winner.

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