Golden Tate took responsibility for taking a banned substance — but blamed a fertility doctor for prescribing it.
A day after the NFL denied his appeal of his four-game suspension, the Giants receiver said the doctor misled him.
Tate, who is trying to have another child with his wife, said his doctor told him the treatments, which contained the banned substance clomiphene, would not violate the NFL’s banned substance list.
“I think ultimately because the doctor had said no, it’s not a banned substance and I have prescribed it to other NFL guys,” Tate said Wednesday when asked why he didn’t consult the league or the Giants. “If the doctor says I’m not sure, I would have 100 percent looked into it. If the doctor never said he had never given it to other NFL players, I 1,000 percent would have looked into it.”
While out to dinner one night shortly after starting the treatments, Tate said he was discussing another player’s suspension when it dawned on him that he might want to double check with the doctor what the active ingredients are in the fertility treatment.
“We are definitely looking into [taking action against the doctor], we are kind of examining all of our options,” Tate said. “This all came out a few days ago, so I’m still trying to get through camp, trying my best to focus and continue to be a leader for this organization, and practice hard.”
Tate, who signed a four-year, $37.5 million contract in March, admitted he was surprised his ban was upheld, thinking the NFL might be more understanding given the circumstances.
“It’s very frustrating. I have no problem with accepting the punishment,” Tate said. “I’m responsible for what’s put into my body, ultimately. The tough thing I am dealing with is I’m letting down a lot of people. My family, the guys in the locker room, the people in the organization that brought me here. That’s kind of what’s been crushing me with this whole situation.”
When asked how the NFL should adjust the way they view these situations, Tate acknowledged that it’s a slippery slope. If he gets a pass, others might take advantage and try to use the same excuse.
But he said he plans to present ideas to the NFL on how to work better with players in these cases.
Once he clarifies with the league what the policy on communication with the coaches and other Giants personnel is during his suspension, Tate hopes to design a rigorous plan to stay on his game.
“I’m going to get with [strength and conditioning coach Aaron] Wellman and get an intense workout plan or something that allows me to stay in tip-top shape so once I get back in Week 5 I can hit the ground running,”
Tate said. “Like every year, you kind of use camp to get in shape for the season. I have to come in that Monday after the fourth game ready to rock and roll and ready to be rolling.”
Coach Pat Shurmur said he believes Tate’s story, saying he’s been open and honest about what happened.
As far as how Shurmur plans to adjust without Tate for the first four games, the “next man up” approach hasn’t changed.
“[We fill the void] with another receiver,” Shurmur said. “That’s how we do it. It’s unfortunate, this situation. He will not be with us for a month, so we’ll fill that void with another player.
“It’s just that simple. It’s unfortunate. There are times when you have injuries, and you have to adjust on the fly.
This is a situation where it’s a suspension, so we adjust on the fly. It is just that simple.”
Tate said he believed the hard part was over and has set his sights on just getting back to playing football. He admitted the situation has been on his mind for months, resulting in a loss of sleep and frustration with having to explain himself to the Giants.
“Look at me, I’m not trying to cheat,” Tate said. “I think I have represented the NFL shield pretty well in my career. I have achieved a lot of things, and I hope this doesn’t smear that reputation that I have worked very hard for.”