Is Drew Brees peddling banned substances?

Saints QB Drew Brees has a lot to say about the NFL’s appeals process:

I hate to say this because it sounds so conspiracy theorist, but it seems like the last, at least, month or so, especially once Tagliabue stepped in, it’s very staged, as in, ‘OK, how do we get ourselves out of this mess, let the players off.

Indeed, it would be a shame for Brees to come off as a conspiracy theorist, so I’m going to spare him the trouble and offer one of my own. About Drew Brees.

Over the past few weeks, Vick’s — no relation to Michael — has been running an ad (at least during TDS and Colbert, because that’s where I see my ads) featuring Brees plugging two related products: Nyquil and Dayquil.

For some reason, I couldn’t find the ad anywhere on Youtube. And although I could turn up similar versions, I’m a bit of a perfectionishist (not a typo), so I went to the trouble of making a little copy of my own. The quality’s not great, and you can see vestiges of the Daily Show media player along the bottom (this is where the ‘ish’ in perfectionishist comes in), but you get enough of an idea from what I already have that it’s not worth trying to record it again.

The first line is mangled, so I’ll kick this recording off with a translation — “Playing in the NFL is tough…”:

The main takeaway is that Drew Brees takes Dayquil — or Nyquil, depending on the circumstances — to improve his on-field ability. The endorsement is pretty clear: Nyquil can help players in the NFL — and it can probably help you too. Seems innocent enough — especially compared to some of the other medications plugged on the telly.

Or maybe not.

As it happens, Nyquil contains pseudoephedrine, which is included on the list of substances banned by the NFL (even though it doesn’t appear in the right-hand column by name):


Admittedly, Nyquil hasn’t contained pseudoephedrine since the middle of the last decade — but only in the United States. That’s certainly good news for players who tend to follow Brees’ example (looking at you, Russell Wilson) — so long as they stay in the United Sates.

Just one problem: it remains on the ingredient list in Canada, where pseudoephedrine-containing Nyquil is available without a prescription. That, you might think, is the CFL’s problem. After all, unlike MLB (Blue Jays) and the NBA (Raptors), the NFL doesn’t have any teams in Canada.

And you’d be right — on any given Sunday.

But not this Sunday, when the Seahawks and Bills are set to face off in Toronto. The timing of Brees’ advertising blitz could not have been more perfect: the Seahawks are already out Brandon Browner, and might soon be out Richard “My vernacular is impeccable. U Mad Bro?” Sherman as well. So don’t be too surprised when we find out in a few more weeks that a couple of Seahawks got busted for Nyquil in their systems after this coming weekend. There’s no doubt in my mind that Brees is trying to trick the Seahawks while they’re down.

But the Saints, at 5-8, are on the brink of mathematical elimination. What motivation could Brees possibly have for attempting to sabotage the Seahawks’ playoff chances?

That question has two possible — and quite related — answers.

One, maybe he’s still trying to collect that bounty:

The league also displayed a computer slide it obtained from the Saints, dating from before a playoff game against Seattle the following season, showing photos of three Seahawks with “Now it’s time to do our job. Collect bounty $$$!. No apologies. Let’s go hunting” printed on it.  The Seahawks on the slide were Matt Hasselbeck, Mike Williams, and Marshawn Lynch.

Two, maybe he’s trying to get some revenge for how that game turned out:

Either way, the NFL takes samples from 10 randomly-selected players after every game, conducts tests, and announces suspensions a few weeks down the line. So don’t be surprised when you hear that some Seahawks have been suspended for ingesting Nyquil right as they’re gearing up to win the Superbowl.


[Update, 12/15: I just saw this version for the first time, which makes it quite clear that it’s totally cool for Brees to just show up in the drug store and grab some Nyquil without a prescription:

Seahawks: You’ve been warned.]


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