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Bucs’ drug test of Mike Williams raises questions under substance-abuse policy

Mike Williams

In a move that could raise more questions than it answers, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Williams passed a team-implemented urine test after he was released from jail following a Friday arrest for suspicion of DUI.  The information was conveyed to Schefter by Bucs G.M. Mark Dominik.

Williams also submitted to a urine test administered by the authorities.

But here’s the difference.  The authorities have the authority to request urine testing.  Individual NFL teams generally don’t.

The league’s substance-abuse policy outlines the situations in which test for recreational drugs may occur.  Generally, any testing of players is conducted under the supervision of the league’s Medical Advisor.  Although the policy permits a player to agree individually with the team as part of his player contract to be subject to unannounced testing if a reasonable basis for testing exists, a Buccaneers official tells PFT that no such agreement was in place between Williams and the Buccaneers.

Instead, the Bucs officials said that Williams initiated the process by requesting an opportunity to exonerate himself, and the two sides agreed that a privately-imposed test would result in quicker results than the test conducted by law enforcement.  The Buccaneers then arranged for the testing to occur at a local, impartial facility, which screened Williams’ sample for marijuana and all other substances that fall within the scope of such testing.

Though the testing did not occur under the auspices of the substance-abuse policy, the mere disclosure of the result by the team potentially violates the confidentiality provisions of the policy.  Again, the fact that the testing occurred beyond the confines of the policy could make the confidentiality provision of the policy irrelevant.

We’ve requested comment from the league and the NFLPA on this matter.  Stay tuned.

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23 Responses to “Bucs’ drug test of Mike Williams raises questions under substance-abuse policy”
  1. mean13 says: Nov 22, 2010 4:51 PM

    Why is this an issue. Williams wanted the test and he did in fact exonerate himself. He has done nothing wrong. Leave him alone.

  2. larryed says: Nov 22, 2010 4:58 PM

    So, Williams initiated the process by requesting an opportunity to exonerate himself, and the two sides agreed that a privately-imposed test would result in quicker results than the test conducted by law enforcement is the Buc’s doing a no no? Perhaps initiated by Williams to make sure he was on that plane to SF? So we stir a turd for what purpose? Hmmm?

  3. techstar25 says: Nov 22, 2010 4:59 PM

    “Williams initiated the process”
    That sounds like me like the guy just went out and got tested on his own. He can do that. If he went and got the test on his own, and then reported the results to the team, that would not break any rules.
    Even if that’s not exactly how it happened, the team can claim it and nobody can prove otherwise.

  4. nicalooch says: Nov 22, 2010 5:02 PM

    The fact that the test was requested by the player should make all of this a non-factor. You can not fault the guy for wanting to clear his name so he can go out there and PLAY FOOTBALL. The SA policy is there to protect HIS rights, and he chose to expedite the “what if” speculation to a close.

    Don’t try to make the Bucs look like an evil organization because that’s exactly what this article is trying to do. The cop says Mike had “glassy eyes”. It was 3 AM… do you think he was maybe a little tired? that’ll do it.

    end rant.

  5. statking says: Nov 22, 2010 5:02 PM

    I understand your point Florio, but to me it doesn’t really matter since he knew he was clean and wanted to prove his innocence as fast as possible. Is this another case of cops targeting athletes?

  6. jecates says: Nov 22, 2010 5:04 PM

    Can a player not choose to allow the league or team to disclose test results?

  7. btintampa says: Nov 22, 2010 5:04 PM

    Another lession in the Mike Florio book on taking some completely legitimate and casting it as something nefarious.

    You state it could raise more questions than it answers, but I checked your article for question marks and didn’t find any.

    In fact, this is a lesson in letting the locker room take care of its own. I am sure there was a finger or two in Mike Williams’ chest, or a head lock, with maybe a nuggie thrown in for good measure.

    When the Bucs put the smackdown in the wheel-chair Ravens, will you pull your tongue out of your mouth and admit that you were wrong?

    If you are so sure the Bucs are pretenders about to take a fall, then put your toupee where your mouth is. Will you state on camera that you will have your head shaved at the half of Sunday Night Football if the Bucs make the playoffs?

    Your article raised more questions (two) then it answered.

  8. minnesconsin says: Nov 22, 2010 5:09 PM

    this is just digging for a story. there is no story. dude was profiled and harassed by the fuzz, and once the bad press is out there everyone assumes the guy’s guilty. by the time the popo get around to releasing the results of their urine test, the player’s already suffered weeks of discrimination and a harmful blow to his reputation. To avoid that, the player took the initiative to clear his name, and the team agreed. The team disclosed the result with the player’s cooperation to help exonerate his name in the court of public opinion. Stop trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. This is a non-issue, PERIOD.

  9. kisstherings says: Nov 22, 2010 5:14 PM

    Looks like old Florio is back on his bulldozer ready to make another mountain our of the ant hill he just stumbled across.

    Thanks for wasting three minutes of my time Mike….

  10. Uncle Leo says: Nov 22, 2010 5:15 PM

    “Again, the fact that the testing occurred beyond the confines of the policy could make the confidentiality provision of the policy irrelevant.”

    Only slightly less irrelevant than your entire article, Mr Wigmaster.

  11. skinnypigeon says: Nov 22, 2010 5:16 PM

    @statking, it’s more of a case of Hillsborough County sheriffs targeting blacks. It happens all of the time here.

    For the record, I’m not black.

  12. tbf22 says: Nov 22, 2010 5:25 PM

    lolflorio

  13. satanphoenix says: Nov 22, 2010 5:28 PM

    The player volunteered for the the test. The player voluntarily used the team’s media resources to announce the test was clean.

    If that is what happened then NO PROBLEM!!!

  14. bucforever says: Nov 22, 2010 5:30 PM

    Ditto on the nonstory here. Mike will get a speeding ticket from the police ,and a fine from the team and hopefully learn an early lesson from the whole stupid thing. Let the young man be. We need him there against the Ravens .GO BUCS!!

  15. brasho says: Nov 22, 2010 5:31 PM

    If my innocence was at question and I knew I could prove my innocence in the court of public opinion, I certainly would go through what Wiillams did and more if I had to. Kudos to Wiliams and to the Buccaneers. Both parties have risen from the ashes to prove themselves once again.

  16. rockstart42 says: Nov 22, 2010 5:33 PM

    obviously this falls outside of the policy so it really doesn’t hurt him only works in the players favor especially if he has nothing to hide.

  17. steelerdynasty2010 says: Nov 22, 2010 5:42 PM

    wouldnt it only be an actionable violation if he filed a complaint? and why would he do that if he volunteered?

  18. FinFan68 says: Nov 22, 2010 5:54 PM

    Sounds legit to me and was initiated by the player (outside the SA rules) to help stop any reputation bashing. This is not a story. The Bucs and Williams did nothing wrong.

  19. drbob117 says: Nov 22, 2010 6:12 PM

    The guy had every right to clear his name if he felt he was unjustly arrested and is probably thrilled that the results of the test came out, a test which exonerated him. Florio’s problem is that the test was negative; had it been positive, he could have shouted from the rooftops that Williams is a terrible drunk, and the Bucs are wrong to play him. Instead it’s obvious that he was only guilty of DWB, and the Tampa police were exposed for arresting him without cause.

  20. freedomispopular says: Nov 22, 2010 6:21 PM

    In other news, I’ve gotten word from one of my sources that Terry Bradshaw is dead.

  21. satanphoenix says: Nov 22, 2010 6:34 PM

    I have to point out the cops are in a damn if you do and damn if you don’t situation the moment they find out that the guy is an NFL Player and an iffy DUI case. Here in Phoenix it appears the cops will arrest you if you got alcohol on your breath (“intoxicated to the slightest degree” is the law) and let the judges sort it out. If nothing else the pain in the ass of getting booked for DUI is a lesson many people take to heart even if they do get the charge dismissed. Being a cabbie I can profess to have some knowledge in this area LOL. I’ve seen .06 be a date in court and I’ve seen them just take their keys away and let me drive them home with a warning.

  22. jgrange says: Nov 22, 2010 6:35 PM

    Kudos to Mike Williams for taking responsibility and going above and beyond in proving to be what looks like a stupid mistake that he regrets. Most players only do things when forced to do so, see: Mike Vick.

  23. uscgbuc says: Nov 23, 2010 11:31 AM

    Basically this is a good kid that drank a little sobered up and then drove home. He is over 21 and this should not be a problem. The officer arresting him for a 0.061 BAC suggested he was under the influence of narcotics. He wanted to clear his name and subsequently has. If somebody accused me of using illegal drugs I’d do the same thing. He basically proved he has integrity, the charges should be dropped and he should remain the top Rookie of the Year candidate.

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