As the NFL and the NFLPA work toward overhauling the PED policy and the substance-abuse policy, bits and pieces are tricking out with no specific agenda or organization.
The latest comes from the most recent decision of NFL senior vice president of labor policy and government affairs Adolpho Birch to go on the record, in a conversation with Tom Pelissero of USA Today. Birch discloses that stimulants like Adderall (i.e., amphetamines) and diuretics could slide from the policy regarding steroids and related substances to the substance-abuse policy.
“What we would do is reflect the understanding that those types of substances have both a performance-enhancing kind of component, but also a recreational [use] component,” Birch said. “A positive test in the offseason might be treated differently than a positive test during the season, because one suggests no competitive issue and one does.”
It’s a significant change. Currently, one positive Adderall tests results in a four-game suspension. If Adderall moves to the substance-abuse policy, multiple violations would have to occur before the player is prevented from playing.
The process of working out new drug policies continues to be clogged by a dispute over whether the Commissioner will retain exclusive control over the appeal process involving PED violations arising from something other than a positive test. The league already has agreed to use a third-party arbitrator for all positive PED tests, from steroids to HGH and other performance-enhancing substances.