It started, as so many NFL stories seem to these days, with a tweet from Chad Ochocinco.
On Tuesday Ochocinco tweeted a link to this photo of a note in his locker informing him that he had to provide a urine sample. Ochocinco treated it as an opportunity to make a joke, saying, “Ok , why does the NFL continue to test me, all I do is piss excellence for them each time.”
But some drug-testing experts say the note in Ochocinco’s locker is no joke. In fact, according to the experts, it exposes a flaw in the league’s testing program.
The note told Ochocinco that if he was “not prepared to provide an adequate specimen,” he should “still check-in with the collector.”
Drug testing experts say that wording essentially functions as written notice that the player will be tested, which gives him time to find ways around the test, such as diluting his urine, taking a masking agent, or grabbing the nearest Whizzinator.
“I cannot believe at this day and time, and after all the attention that drug testing has received, that they are doing this,” World Anti-Doping Agency official Dr. Gary Wadler told the New York Times. “I just don’t believe it — it jeopardizes everything drug testing stands for.”
In Major League Baseball, a player will be told to produce a urine sample immediately, and if he can’t urinate on the spot a chaperone will follow him around until he can. In the NFL, there are no such chaperones.
Personally, I’d hate to be working in an environment where someone came up to me in the morning and informed me that he’d be following me around until I peed in a cup for him. But that’s apparently standard operating procedure in the war on doping.
And now that Ochocinco has exposed the fact that the NFL isn’t following standard operating procedure, the NFL’s procedures may be in for a change.