Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Michael Floyd will be suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2017 NFL regular season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and the terms of his house arrest.
Floyd was placed on house arrest after pleading guilty to extreme DUI in December of 2016 while still a member of the Arizona Cardinals. According to police reports, Floyd was passed out behind the wheel and registered a blood alcohol level of .217, which is twice the legal limit.
The Cardinals cut Floyd, and the New England Patriots subsequently picked him up. Floyd was inactive during the Patriots comeback Super Bowl victory, and he signed with the Vikings during the offseason.
When the 27-year-old wideout failed several alcohol tests, he technically violated the terms of the house arrest. Floyd maintained the alcohol in his system was due to drinking kombucha tea available at Vikings’ headquarters.
Kombucha Brewers International President Hannah Crum was quoted in the Atlantic (citing a University of Maine inspection study) as estimating the alcohol content in various kombucha teas as somewhere between 0.5 and 2.5 percent. The amount varies because the yeast contained in the trendy tea mixes with probiotic bacteria and is given time to ferment at different rates. The result of the chemical reaction causes the yeast to consume the sugar and ferment it into carbon dioxide and ethanol.
At a disciplinary hearing with the NFL in June, the league considered suspending Floyd for a minimum of two games.
Despite the Vikings supporting Floyd’s claims and scientific evidence that some of the strongest kombucha teas have approximately half as much alcohol as a bottled 12-ounce beer, the NFL dropped the hammer by doubling the minimum suspension time for Floyd.
The NFL maintains a lucrative sponsorship deal with Gatorade, so Floyd will surely have other liquid alternatives while on the sidelines during his four-game suspension. While the receiver is ineligible for game action, he will be allowed to practice and participate in all preseason games.