kombucha
Image courtesy of Vikings.com
– GUEST POST –

This post was guest-written by Luke Braun, who is a writer for Purple PTSD and co-host of the Purple Journal Podcast. Since before he can remember, he was immersed in the ups and crippling downs of Vikings fandom. In adulthood, he’s taken an analytical approach to evaluation, but the compelling stories of each NFL player are not lost on him. Outside of football, Luke works in digital media and the film industry, giving him a unique perspective on the characters and story of the NFL.


On Friday, TMZ dropped a bombshell on an otherwise quiet time of year by reporting that Michael Floyd had violated the terms of his DUI sentence just five days before the end of his house arrest. Floyd and his camp quickly responded with a statement of his own.

On June 10, 2017, Michael watched movies at his place of residence until 3:00 a.m. During that time, he drank several bottles of kombucha tea drinks, unaware that the drinks contain alcohol.

On June 11, 2017 at 5:30 a.m., Michael was tested and his blood alcohol content was .055. Michael was tested again at 5:54 a.m. and his blood alcohol content was down to .045. Michael was tested again at 6:23 a.m. and his blood alcohol content was .044. He then went back to sleep and missed a test at 6:33 a.m.


Floyd called the allegations “totally false.” But Floyd’s story and timeline don’t quite add up. Using bloodalcoholcalculator.org and some basic math, we can get a rough idea of how much kombucha tea it would take to get Michael Floyd’s BAC up to .055 at the time of testing. Since we’re comparing to a mild drink like kombucha tea, we’ll start with a light beer, something like a Labatt Blue, then convert it later. If you disagree with any of these estimations, or simply want to play along, go to that linked site and play around.

For Floyd, a 27 year-old, 225-pound male, it takes about five 12oz Labatts over two hours to get to a BAC around .055. Converted to tea, that’s around 350 oz, or about 10.5 liters- five of these and change. But according to Floyd’s timeline, Floyd “watched movies at his place of residence until 3:00 a.m.”, drinking tea throughout the night. That’s not a two hour window. Since Floyd went to bed at 3:00 and watched multiple movies, we’ll estimate he started around 10:00. With five hours of aggressive tea chugging and two and a half hours of sleep, we’ll enter an even seven hour drinking period (since your metabolism slows down while sleeping). For someone of Floyd’s size, it would take 9-10 Labatts to reach a .055 BAC in seven hours. Converting that to tea is where it gets silly.

Labatts has a 5% ABV or alcohol by volume. Kombucha tea (the “under 21” kind that isn’t classified as an alcoholic beverage) has a maximum of .5% ABV. To achieve the same amount of alcohol consumption, Floyd would have to consume 1,190 ounces of kombucha tea. That translates to around 35 liters or 10 gallons. Enough to fill up this fish tank. Floyd would have had to drink 85 of these 14oz bottles of tea. Even if we adjust for Floyd’s likely low body fat content, low tolerance from his hiatus from drinking, possible water or food breaks or issues with my math, achieving any sort of buzz off of kombucha tea would require a cartoonish level of kombucha chugging.

Put simply, Michael Floyd didn’t get drunk off kombucha tea alone.

Michael Floyd’s situation is a warning sign to recovering alcoholics everywhere, but my comrade Joe Johnson can speak much more eloquently to that than I can. The most important thing in all of this is him getting the help he needs. We can all agree on that. But there are other factors here as well.

Risk is a difficult concept to evaluate because probability is hard to explain in sports. You may have a coin flip’s chance at converting a 4th down, but the decision will be judged differently depending on which side of the coin turned up. Hindsight bias runs rampant in sports analysis, and that will never change. Risks aren’t inherently bad, they just need to be properly evaluated. As Joe put it, Michael Floyd was a huge risk, and wasn’t behaving like the kind of alcoholic who is ready to take his sobriety seriously. With a low probability of success, you tend to spend less on the gamble. If you were asked to try and predict a dice roll, you’d bet less on that than a coin flip. It’s easier to lose the dice roll. That’s why Michael Floyd’s contract has no dead cap associated with it– releasing Floyd right now carries no tangible penalty. Floyd’s relapse would hurt immensely more if we had to carry any sort of penalty, but thankfully, Spielman and Brzezinski hedged against this. We may have to eat some bad press, plus some lower-tier players lost valuable OTA reps, but that’s about it. The Vikings can freely move on as if the signing never happened.

In the NFL, actions have equal and opposite reactions. Assuming Floyd is released, Laquon Treadwell just lost his biggest competitor for the 3rd WR spot behind Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Those on the roster fringe have one more slot to compete over, so the loss of Floyd benefits marginal names like Stacy Coley, Isaac Freuchte or even Moritz Böhringer. If a player could make the roster instead of the practice squad, that practice squad slot opens up for those like R.J. Shelton or Cayleb Jones.

Football footnotes aside, the real story is one of dependence and responsible alcohol consumption. I strongly recommend you download one of these apps, which can help you stay informed about your BAC and level of impairment. If you think you’re ok to drive, check the math first. Even if you aren’t a drinker, it’s a good tool to have in case a friend needs some talking down. Any tool is a good tool if it helps us stay responsible.

Thanks for reading!