Now that the six-game suspension of Broncos linebacker Von Miller has become final, details are trickling out. Or in. Or whatever.
Per a league source, the NFL wanted to impose a suspension of more than six games on Miller under Section I.C.3.f of the substance-abuse policy, which permits “additional discipline” where a player engages in a “deliberate effort to substitute or adulterate a specimen or to alter a Test result.”
Others have reported that the first sample collected from Miller was spilled and the second sample was determined to be diluted. The league, we’re told, believes that the spillage occurred as part of an effort to alter the result, possibly through the adulteration or substitution of the sample.
The NFL agreed to suspend Miller only six games via negotiation with the union. Per the source, the initial breach of confidentiality that resulted in the media learning of Miller’s potential suspension became leverage in the discussions.
Concerns regarding possible flaws in the collection process also may have been a factor in the league’s willingness to reduce the penalty. Indeed, if Miller was doing something with the sample cup other than urinating into it while the collector was watching, that shouldn’t have happened because under the collection process the sample collector should have been watching Miller the entire time.
And so the two sides have found a middle ground. Miller hoped to get the number down to four, the league wanted the number to be higher, and both parties agreed to resolve the case in lieu of risking a different outcome before the case went to a hearing.
The simple fact that the league had concerns about prevailing in an appeals process that the league controls shows that the NFL had real concerns about its case.