COVERING ALL THINGS SILVER AND BLACK

Raiders: We Tried to Help JaMarcus

By Joe Kukura
|  Monday, Jul 26, 2010  |  Updated 12:17 PM PDT
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The Raiders swear they kept an eye on JaMarcus Russell.

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The Oakland Raiders broke their silence on the JaMarcus Russell codeine cough syrup arrest scandal Wednesday, issuing a press release reprinted in full on their website.

Their statement does not include words like "drugs," "purp," "purple drank," "slizzurp," or "Celebrity Rehab," but it strongly infers that the Raiders were aware of Russell's issues and tried interventions with him.

"We did all that we could to intervene and assist with a myriad of issues with JaMarcus Russell," the Raiders' press release says. "NFL policy restricts our ability to comment publicly at this time."

"Therefore, those in the media who declare what the Raiders knew or should have known or what the Raiders did or should have done, are reckless, irresponsible and offensive and do a disservice to all concerned, including the public," the statement concludes.

These remarks might just be classic ass-covering. A "myriad of issues" could mean anything. It sure sounds like they're talking about drug use, but the "issues" might just as easily be Russell's weight, or his tendency to fall down backwards untouched after taking a snap.

There is, however, the kicker phrase "NFL policy restricts our ability to comment publicly at this time." There is an NFL substance abuse program for players having issues with drugs, and players are promised confidentiality for first offense.

So it is literally true that if the Raiders knew JaMarcus was using drugs, they could not have gone public with that information.

Nonetheless, the Raiders are reacting to media speculation that they had enabled Russell during his time in Oakland. Monte Poole lit the Raiders up in an Oakland Tribune piece, and Ann Killion smoked them in a Sports Illustrated article.

Meanwhile, in his own purple haze, Russell's bond hearing was Wednesday and his next court date is July 20.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is reckless, irresponsible and offensive and does a disservice to all concerned, including the public.

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