NFL veteran and outspoken Christian Benjamin Watson announced Sunday he’s been suspended for using a banned substance. The 38-year-old tight end, who had announced his retirement from the New Orleans Saints after battling injuries last season, says he took a prescribed substance before prayerfully deciding to make a comeback.
“I had no plans to return,” Watson writes in a lengthy Facebook post. “After my contract expired [in] March I told my doctors I was finished playing, went through a series of medical tests, and was prescribed Bio Identical Testosterone Cypionate to assist in healing my body and mind.”
Watson: “I accept the discipline”
After starting treatment, Watson writes, he was randomly tested and “complied out of habit, never thinking in that moment I’d want to come back.” Late last month, when some teams expressed interest in him, Watson decided to return, having “forgotten all about my test.”
When he received notice of positive PED (performance-enhancing drug) results, Watson says he was “devastated,” knowing a four-game suspension would await him if he returned. The 15-year veteran discussed the matter with teams, and New England signed him “in spite of these circumstances.”
Watson, who’s “disappointed” about having to sit out, says he won’t appeal the suspension. “I respect the regulations that have been collectively bargained to promote fairness on the field of play,” he writes, “and accept the discipline associated with my infraction.”
Watson says his goals remain unchanged: “To live a life of integrity and humility while standing for kindness, justice and righteousness and to serve the people in the cities, regions and organizations that God places me in.”
Comments on Watson’s Facebook page indicate that fans appreciate his transparency and sense of honor.
Watson Maintains Pro-Life Stance
The father of seven and author of The New Dad’s Playbook also is making headlines for his strong anti-abortion views. Watson appeared on Fox & Friends Tuesday, taking issue with actress Alyssa Milano’s assertion that new abortion restrictions will impact women of color the most.
That’s an oft-repeated “lie” that’s “really a combination of ignorance or racism,” Watson says. “I believe our children are our most cherished possession in our communities, and the lies that have been told over and over and over again is that if you’re in a certain economic situation, if you’re a certain color, [abortion] is the solution we’re going to offer you. And that’s detrimental, not only to black communities but to America as a whole.”
Following a Twitter exchange with Milano, Watson had a dialogue with the actress, and he encourages others to keep talking. “We’re missing people that have very different views but are willing to at least converse and…find somewhere they have common ground and challenge each other in a respectful manner,” he says.
The Watsons donated an ultrasound machine to a Baltimore pregnancy clinic when he played for the Ravens. At a pro-life rally in Times Square earlier this month, Watson proclaimed, “Fatherhood begins in the womb.”