Last month, some of you suggested that we take off the tin-foil hat when making this observation about the procedures for gathering cups of urine from NFL players: “Considering the financial stakes of a positive test, who’s to say a sample collector hasn’t been offered an envelope containing something other than a birthday card in order to ensure that the sample sent to the lab will be deemed clean?”
Sometimes, it’s good to wear a cap fashioned from thinly-sliced metals.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen report that Broncos linebacker Von Miller worked with a sample collector to try to beat the testing process. Per the report, the league is “reasonably certain” no money changed hands, and that the collector was simply “star struck.”
We wouldn’t be so quick to be so reasonably certain. Miller’s six-game suspension will cost him more than $2 million. If there’s a way to pay a lot less to get the piss man to look the other way (literally and figuratively), why not try?
Well, here’s a reason. Miller got caught.
Though Scheftersen gets credit for breaking the news, it’s not a surprise to anyone who was visiting this page in late August, when we wrote this: “Per a league source, the NFL is nervous about potential flaws with the manner in which Miller’s sample was collected. The anxiety and/or uncertainty possibly has contributed to the delay in taking the case to a hearing. Currently, Miller and the league reportedly are negotiating a resolution that could drop the proposed six-game suspension down to four games.”
Miller ended up being suspended six games. It most likely would have been worse, but for the fact that the sample collector hired by the league was in on the scam.
In the aftermath of the Miller situation, the league and the NFLPA have reiterated that the sample-collection procedures will be strictly enforced. That may not be enough to solve the problem of potentially corrupt individuals charged with harvesting urine.
Obviously, the collector in this case has been dismissed. If it turns out that the collector took money, he possibly also could be prosecuted.
While that could get the attention of other sample collectors, it may not be an ideal outcome for the NFL, since it could entail an excursion down a rabbit hole that the NFL would prefer to fill with cement and move on.