Gilbert doesn’t help Steelers

Commentary

PITTSBURGH — Marcus Gilbert’s timing wasn’t any better than his judgment.

Gilbert had known for at least a week that he failed an NFL test for performance-enhancing drugs, but his penalty — a four-game suspension — wasn’t announced until Monday.

That means the fourth game he will miss is the Dec. 17 Heinz Field showdown against the New England Patriots. The Steelers could use the full squad for that one, since it might decide the home-field advantage for the playoffs.

Gilbert said in a Tweet that he inadvertently used a banned substance. It doesn’t matter how it happened because the penalty is the same. Four games.

That means Gilbert will be eligible for the final two regular season games and the postseason. That helps, but it would be nice to have him for the Patriots game.

Chris Hubbard has been a capable backup, but he’s not Gilbert. Plus having Hubbard in the starting lineup affects the Steelers’ depth.

Gilbert passed up a chance to appeal the penalty. As Ben Roethlisberger pointed out, when are those appeals ever successful?

Another penalty

MLB threw the book at the Atlanta Braves for improprieties in international signings. The harsh penalties should be an effective deterrent for other teams that may consider skirting the rules.

General manager John Coppolellla lost his job and has been banned from MLB. The Braves lost prime prospects and the bonus money they already paid out.

They will also face other penalties.

International scouting in baseball has been a cesspool for a long time. There are shady deals made throughout Latin American countries with talented players used as chattel to be bartered.

The Pirates were recently touched by the issue. They cut ties with Latin American scouting director Rene Gayo after an MLB investigation determined he took an illegal kickback.

Maybe making players from all parts of the world subject to the amateur draft would clean things up a bit?

Slumping

Hard to believe, but as the Penguins prepare to play at home against Vancouver tonight, Sidney Crosby has six goals.

He hasn’t missed any games, either.

Crosby will score. His work ethic and talent guarantee that.

But why it’s taking so long is one of the mysteries of the season so far.

Giving thanks

It’s that time of year again, and while the focus is on turkey and football and big sales, the real purpose of the holiday is to give thanks.

That’s why I always preserve this space on Thanksgiving Eve to thank you for reading. Extra thanks to those of you who also email and participate in the annual Guess How Many Games The Pirates Will Win contest and listen to the appearances on Cory’s radio show.

You pay attention to the stuff I type, and some of you have been doing that for a long time. Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com.

COMMENTS