When the NFL endured its last work stoppage in 1987, the league office exerted far less day-to-day control over the players on matters like drug testing and personal conduct.
If/when a lockout is imposed on March 4, the NFL will forfeit the ability to impose discipline on players who use steroids or smoke pot or engage in ill-advised drinking binges in small college towns in the South.
As we pointed out last year, expiration of the labor deal necessarily will short-circuit the substance-abuse policy, the steroids policy, the personal conduct policy, and any other rules and regulations applicable to player conduct away from the field of play.
It means that drug testing will end and that players who are arrested during the lockout won’t be subject to fines or suspensions.
Though we don’t recommend that players get arrested in order to prove a point, the point already will be proven once the CBA expires and the lockout begins and the league loses all power to control men whom the league has grown very accustomed to controlling.