On January 17, 2022, Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Malik McDowell was arrested after stripping naked and running around like a crazy person. Such behavior is exhibited by people who have taken the synthetic drug flakka. Among other things, flakka raises your body temperature over 105 degrees and makes you feel like you are on fire. So much so that you feel compelled to take your clothes off in order to avoid burning up. Here is an example:
McDowell was arrested in Deerfield Beach, a city in Broward County, Florida where there was a surge of flakka usage in 2015. (See this story: The new drug that causes users to rip off their clothes and attack with super-human strength.)
On this page, TMZ has video of McDowell at the gym, acting completely normal, just an hour before the incident. The video below shows McDowell bull-rushing and punching the deputy who later tased him. Impressively, the deputy held his ground and didn’t get knocked over:
Here is the arrest video. Look at the expression on McDowell’s face. Looks crazy, right?
From the Washington Post story linked above:
“With a crystalline appearance, making it look like small, white rocks, flakka often resembles crack cocaine…The substance can be snorted, swallowed, injected, smoked or inhaled using an electronic cigarette.”
My guess is that those properties make flakka an effective dosing agent because it can be hidden inside another substance, just like THC can be baked into brownies. Also, it is easy to overdose with flakka because the amounts used are very small. McDowell was taken to the hospital after his arrest, but whether or not he had anything in his system doesn’t seem to have been announced yet.
McDowell was the feel-good story of the 2021 NFL season. Everybody was rooting for the young man striving to straighten up and fly right. And he did well, which is why I am giving him the benefit of the doubt. Browns fans were all shocked by the arrest because it seemed out of character – recent character, anyway.
So, first, I think we can rule out the idea that he was trying to sexually assault children. The fact that there was a preschool near his hotel was just a coincidence. And his movements were likely just random.
Secondly, you might think getting dosed is a long shot. But think about all the women who get dosed with roofies and are then raped. And men get dosed too. Comedian Artie Lange once told a story about how he went to his drug dealer’s apartment to buy some cocaine. She tried to interest him in some heroin, but Artie declined. So, she just jabbed him, Dexter style. Artie was angry at first, but quickly became euphoric.
Another comedian, Joey Diaz, likes to dose family and friends with edibles. He thinks it’s funny. See the video below.
If you Google “Joey Diaz doses” you will find a bunch more samples. I have no idea if Malik McDowell was dosed. But if he was, I’d like to see him exonerated. It seems like something happened during that 1-hour window between his workout at the gym and his arrival at the preschool. And it shouldn’t be too difficult to investigate that time-span. For example, did he stop for gas? Florida gas stations are notorious for selling questionable items. Did he meet with anybody? Does he have any “jokers” in his circles?
Another thing I have noticed is that big guys will often take a double dose. So, if a big guy is reading the instructions on a bottle of aspirin that says adults should take two tablets every four hours, he thinks: I’m twice as big as the average guy, so I should take four tablets. So, if McDowell did deliberately take something, he may have simply miscalculated. In any case, I don’t think McDowell was being malicious and deliberately trying to terrorize Deerfield Beach.
Hopefully, McDowell’s lawyer can get the charges dropped. McDowell was playing on a one-year contract, and will be a free-agent on March 16. McDowell, and fellow DT, Malik Jackson, started out well in 2021, but their conditioning was insufficient to last the whole season, and by the end, they were getting slapped around by opposing o-lines. So, McDowell will need to get in as much practice and training as possible over the summer.