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Trent Williams’ case highlights failure to reintegrate players into drug program

Trent Williams AP

When the lockout commenced on March 11, all players in the substance-abuse program were released from the unannounced testing obligations — and likewise prevented from having access to the treatment and counseling available to players who have tested positive in the recent past.

Then, when the lockout ended, the players immediately were subjected to testing again, without any period of reintegration.

As a result, 11 players who already were in the program tested positive in the days after the new labor agreement became effective.  And Redskins tackle Trent Williams continued to test positive once the season began.

Per multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, Williams tested positive 10 times in September and October.

Yes, 10 times.

Neither Williams nor any of the other 10 players had tested positive from their entry into the program through the start of the lockout.  So the program was working.

The fact that Williams tested positive 10 times doesn’t mean that he ingested a banned recreational substance on 10 occasions.  If, as others have reported, Williams tested positive for marijuana, the same smoking incident could continue to generate the presence of marijuana metabolites for up to a month.  As a result, the 10 positive tests from September and October were treated as one violation of the program.

Though it’s impossible to know whether Williams would have remained clean if he and the other 10 players had been reintegrated into the program over a period of time, it’s now clear in hindsight that both the NFL and the NFLPA should have done a better job (or, really, any job) of taking into account the interests of players who had been benefiting from treatment before being cut loose as of March 11, and then abruptly being expected to comply again as of early August.

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19 Responses to “Trent Williams’ case highlights failure to reintegrate players into drug program”
  1. hanktheking says: Dec 11, 2011 2:39 PM

    Unrelated: The call the ref’s just made on London Fletcher was the worst call the NFL has seen this season. Triplett and his crew just screwed themselves out of a playoff game.

  2. crazybeardedjack says: Dec 11, 2011 2:41 PM

    With as high as Trent Williams’ body fat content is, the THC could be in his system for even longer than a month.

  3. numberoneinthehoodg says: Dec 11, 2011 2:42 PM

    Mary Jane stays in fat cells longer so heavy set gentlemen will test positive for a longer period. Not an excuse, just the truth.

    Abba-zaba, you’re my only friend.

  4. redskinspike says: Dec 11, 2011 2:43 PM

    “and then abruptly being expected to comply again as of early August.”

    Why should this be a problem? Marijuana is illegal for ALL Americans ALL the time. It’s not like that changed when the lockout ended and then started back up.

  5. nfcnorth2011 says: Dec 11, 2011 2:48 PM

    What a shame blame the lockout not the player. Williams has only himself to blame.

  6. stataddict says: Dec 11, 2011 2:49 PM

    Hmmm. So essentially what you are saying is that these millionaire athletes can’t be trusted to do the right thing unless someone is watching.

    Maybe someone should purchase them an “Elf on the Shelf”. It works for my four year-old daughter…

  7. coolhand5930 says: Dec 11, 2011 2:53 PM

    “it’s now clear in hindsight that both the NFL and the NFLPA should have done a better job”

    Or, the individuals could have taken some (or really, any) personal responsibility and initiative and checked themselves into their own individual rehab programs.

    I’ll blame the league and union for a lot of things, but this isn’t one of them.

  8. doowix says: Dec 11, 2011 2:53 PM

    Maybe he spent the offseason training in Amsterdam.

  9. seatownballers says: Dec 11, 2011 2:54 PM

    Stupid fool. I hear he’s gonna lose between 1.2-2.4 million dollars. Maybe he should consider drinking alcohol till the season ends

  10. gadgetdawg says: Dec 11, 2011 2:56 PM

    The NFLPA should have supported the players by continuing the treatment themselves. They could have always fought to be reimbursed later.

    Everyone always tells me that unions exist for the purpose of supporting the people that depend on them during a strike. I have seen picket lines where union reps were out amongst their people offering help with bills, food and medical issues. I guess it is different when affluent people form a union. I always expected unions to be a group where the strong members pitch in to help the vulnerable members in times like that. My mistake I guess. . .

  11. hoosierdude says: Dec 11, 2011 3:08 PM

    Come on people – these players aren’t children, they’re adults and should be held accountable for their actions just like all other adults. Claiming the NFL and the NFLPA should have done a better job of taking care of their substance abuse problems implies otherwise.

  12. thelionsrgreat says: Dec 11, 2011 3:21 PM

    Make darn sure you dont hold the player accountable for his own actions right?

  13. effjohntaylornorelation says: Dec 11, 2011 3:29 PM

    Perhaps, like in the real adult world the rest of us live and work in, the players accept some responsibility in this. If someone isn’t smart enough to realize counseling has actually helped why is it the responsibility of the NFL to hold their hand? The underlying tone of this article is that someone else should take responsibility, why? I raise my kids and love my wife and don’t drink and drive and don’t do half the crap these “adult” men do because I try to be RESPONSIBLE and accountable to myself and my family.

  14. righton989 says: Dec 11, 2011 3:31 PM

    And there was no period of reintegration for the players to learn how to wipe their backsides either. Poo-hoo.

  15. thingamajig says: Dec 11, 2011 3:52 PM

    Big boys making big bucks. If they can’t handle themselves then maybe they should have hired someone as babysitters. Sorry but they only have themselves to blame.

  16. bigjdve says: Dec 11, 2011 3:56 PM

    The NFLPA and the players decided to give up all of their precious babysitters when they decertified their union. They were warned that there would be a lockout.

    So the NFL isn’t to blame here.

    The players knew that there would be tests and the like as soon as the lockout was lifted. They were told by the NFLPA – so you can’t blame them either.

    The players knew what these rules are, and how they are handled. It is their own fault. There shouldn’t be a need for a reintegration for illegal practices.

    Do you realize how stupid that sounds? The NFL and NFLPA should give the players a reintegration period for complying with not only the rules of the league BUT the laws of the land as well.

  17. blackqbwhiterb says: Dec 11, 2011 4:15 PM

    Glad he’s out. If we had him and ther pothead we might have won that game, and moved down a few spots in next April’s draft. Every win from here out will be terrible for the skins. Fortunately I don’t think we’ll get any.

  18. hailvictory44 says: Dec 11, 2011 4:37 PM

    Only in football is there a difficulty for non-law abiding citizens to obey “without any period of reintegration”

    Oh, and only an idiot writer who doesn’t believe in personal responsibility would suggest the need for something so damn dumb!

    Hey Trent…#4 picks in the NFL don’t trash a young, promising career for some dope, you dope! Get your mind right and we’ll see you next year.

    Hail!

  19. tundey says: Dec 11, 2011 4:42 PM

    I think it wasn’t the treatment program that was working as much as the it was the threat of being drug tested. I think these guys just got caught unawares by the abrupt end of the lockout (and thus didn’t have time to flush the pot out of their system). I think they are potheads that’ll light up once the threat of a drug test isn’t in place.

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