Even though Buccaneers receiver Mike Williams wanted to submit to a urine test to prove that he wasn’t under the influence of substances other than alcohol when he was arrested for suspicion of DUI on Friday, the NFL possibly will find that the team should have declined the request.
League spokesman Greg Aiello tells us that the testing occurred without the knowledge or consent of the NFL.
“We did not know about it or agree to it,” Aiello said. “We are looking into it.”
Although it’s possible that, in this specific case, the circumstances justified the team’s decision to arrange for the test, it sets a dangerous precedent. In future cases involving the Bucs or other teams, it would be easy for coaches or team officials to point to Williams’ willingness to submit to testing as a way to persuade a player that, if he has nothing to hide, he should submit to the test.
To avoid such slippery slopes, the league has created, via bargaining with the NFLPA, a procedure for dealing with this issue, and that procedure does not permit a team to submit a player to testing based on an affirmative decision by the player to be tested (absent, as we pointed out earlier, a term in the player’s contract allowing unannounced tests).
The union has not yet provided us with a position on the situation.