Ideally, the story of Broncos linebacker Von Miller working with a sample collector to help Miller pass his drug tests never would have hit the media’s radar screen. Even more ideally, it’ll go away as quickly as it emerged.
While the report from Mortensen and Schefter didn’t quite rise to the level of Woodward and Bernstein (despite ESPN’s best efforts to promote it that way), their ability to connect dots that already were in plain view makes it difficult if not impossible for the NFL to persist with its “nothing to see here” mentality regarding the potential problems with the league’s collection of men who collect cups of urine for a living.
Previously, they’ve operated in the shadows. Even after former Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams produced
“non-human urine” during a collection process that is supposed to be visibly observed, the education, credentials, experience, and integrity (or lack thereof) of the sample collectors never had been seriously questioned because no one had been paying attention.
Now, they will.
The same source who told PFT back in the middle of August that the league was treading lightly with the Von Miller case because of concerns regarding the sample collection process now tells PFT that the league is concerned that other collectors may have been engaged in similar misconduct. Another source tells PFT that those concerns are real and valid.
Coupled with the likelihood that the Miami-based collector who conspired with Miller may have helped other players provide clean urine, it’s clear that the NFL has a problem that mandates significant action. Ultimately, the entire mechanism for collecting urine may have to be revamped in order to ensure that these types of things won’t happen in the future.
While there’s no reason to think the league will ignore the problem, there’s every reason to think the league prefers that the rest of us do. Given the army of reporters who are at all times chasing NFL-related stories, it’s only a matter of time before Outside The Lines devotes an entire program to blowing the lid off the process of putting a lid on a cup full of something other than apple juice.