When it comes to the court of public opinion, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell might as well stop the appeal process on his 4-game suspension, because he is already guilty as charged. Thankfully for Bell, the public's opinion of him won't stop him from at least having a third party arbitrator hearing his appeal to get his potential suspension voided.
The details of the case are still grey. Bell reportedly changed his phone number, reportedly missed "several" tests and is claiming the missed tests were around the month of March. Although the general public might never know the actual facts in this case, teammate Ramon Foster, and NFLPA representative, spoke to Lance Lysowski of DKPittsburghSports.com on the upcoming appeal.
Before getting into the meat of Foster's comments, he didn't just come out and say he supported Bell and his appeal, he made some glaring insights into the frustration with the NFL, the leak of the suspension and what Bell might be leaning on to prove his innocence.
"It should be voided, in my opinion, but that's something that's going to be looked into," Foster said. "The NFL and NFLPA need to get together on that because these leaked failed tests, and everything that goes along with it, hurts the players. It hurts the players' pockets as far as their marketing and their image to the masses."
The marketing of themselves as potential free agents, as Bell could be after the 2016 season, is something not many have spoken about throughout this process. Bell could be out of millions of dollars due to the NFL not just leaking the news, but what went wrong which led to the suspension.
Players have a very real argument in this circumstance, but can Bell actually have his suspension reduced or voided?
"I think he has a fair shot at passing this thing," Foster said. "He's worked hard, he's done his job. That's never been the case with him. There are small things here and there, but hopefully his case passes in his favor."
"The communication, there's argument there," Foster said. "He is a busy guy. He's not a guy who is going to sit in one place for a long amount of time, and the fact that it was leaked. You can't have those types of things come up right there. He's already guilty before anyone found out what's going on."
These comments speak to the theory of Bell not being available for a potential test, which he clearly missed for whatever reason, but the question remains will the excuse given be enough for a change in the ruling? Only time will tell, but no teammate wants to see their friend go through a situation like this.
"You don't want to see a teammate go through anything like that, but he's a tough guy," Foster said.
The Steelers are still built for success if Bell's suspension holds at 4-games, but if he is able to have his suspension reduced, the team would be even more of a threat in the NFL in 2016.