Golden Tate’s appeal of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances was denied, meaning the wide receiver will miss the first month of his first season with the Giants.
Tate said in a statement last month that he was appealing the suspension because he took prescribed medicine as part of a family fertility program, and once he realized it included a banned substance he stopped and notified the league. He met with an independent appeal committee last week. The chances of him winning were slim as league has a zero-tolerance stance toward such banned substances regardless of intent or ignorance of ingredients.
Tate, 30, has been practicing with the Giants in training camp and participated in last week’s preseason opener. He still is allowed to practice and play in preseason games this summer. His suspension will begin on Sept. 2 and he will be eligible to rejoin the Giants on Sept. 30 following their fourth game of the season against Washington.
In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Tate said Tuesday afternoon: "This morning I received the unfortunate news that my appeal was denied. I went into this arbitration with the understanding that due to the facts, unlike many other cases, we could be the exception to win. Unfortunately, the NFL stood by their no tolerance policy, which I hope one day to help have a part in reforming, so no other player has to go through this situation. I greatly appreciate the support from the Giants since long before an outcome was even determined. Additionally, it has meant so much to hear the Giants fan's support each day at training camp and I am so proud to be a part of this organization. No one is more upset than myself, but moving forward, all I can do is continue to be a leader, continue to hold myself to the highest character and integrity, and soon make the biggest impact on the field."
The Giants signed Tate, a 10-year veteran, to a four-year, $37.5 million contract as a free agent shortly after trading Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns this offseason.
The suspension comes at the start of what may be the most important and urgent beginning to a regular season in Eli Manning’s career. With rookie Daniel Jones waiting behind him, Manning is charged with winning games and keeping Jones on the sideline. He’ll have to attempt to do so now without one of his top receiving weapons.
“Golden is a smart player and he is going to be in the right spot and he has a good feel for the zones, how to get open versus different techniques and stuff,” Manning said. “A veteran guy but also, we have seen a bunch of it with the Giants, his run after catch historically has been very good. A play maker.”
With Tate unavailable, the Giants receivers for the start of the season will likely include Sterling Shepard (who is practicing with a fractured thumb), Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, Russell Shepard, T.J. Jones and rookie Darius Slayton. Tight end Evan Engram and running back Saquon Barkley also are key pieces in the passing game.