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Browner situation could open can of worms

John Madden Football - Pro Football-1

The potential legal questions arising from the NFL’s effort to suspend Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner for drug tests he didn’t take while he wasn’t employed by an NFL team sweep far more broadly than Browner.

Apart from the potential legal rights of other players that have been suspended for not submitting to drug tests while not employed by an NFL team, the situation possibly will shine a light on the issue of paying (or not paying) unemployed players whose names and/or likenesses are used in league products, like the Madden video game franchise.

As one league source explained it to PFT, Browner’s situation could prompt someone (i.e., a lawyer) to explore whether and to what extent players included in the Madden game but not actually employed in the corresponding NFL season are receiving their fair share of the pie.

Regardless of what happens with Browner, his situation has shined a belated light on the general issue of the treatment of unemployed NFL players who are still hoping to become employed by the NFL again.

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27 Responses to “Browner situation could open can of worms”
  1. cursedvikings1998 says: Dec 1, 2013 6:43 PM

    The Vikings still suck.

  2. fdugrad says: Dec 1, 2013 6:43 PM

    I am retiring as a public school teacher this year. I hope this article doesn’t give any of the front office administrators in my school district the idea that I will be attending ANY faculty meetings beginning next September!!

  3. doctorrustbelt says: Dec 1, 2013 6:58 PM

    More legal gymnastics by drug abusing Seattle Seahawks.

  4. dukeearl says: Dec 1, 2013 7:04 PM

    doctorrustbelt says:
    Dec 1, 2013 6:58 PM
    More legal gymnastics by drug abusing Seattle Seahawks.
    ***************
    Good try, but no abuse. Suspending a current employee for things he failed to do for the employer (such as take drug tests) was an over-reach by the NFL.

    If it makes you feel better no worries though.

  5. wheresmyjuice says: Dec 1, 2013 7:05 PM

    Ah what a shocker…Something else for the lawyers of this country to litigate over as they slowly suck the life out of the NFL. Huzzah!

  6. fumblenuts says: Dec 1, 2013 7:05 PM

    FREE BROWNER!!

  7. doctorrustbelt says: Dec 1, 2013 7:18 PM

    Good try, yourself.

    If brandon browner did get busted in 2012…. he wouldn’t have been in this position.

    His drug abuse is his own fault.

    Just another Seahawks “lawyer” trying to game the system.

  8. tfbuckfutter says: Dec 1, 2013 7:27 PM

    dukeearl says: Dec 1, 2013 7:04 PM

    doctorrustbelt says:
    Dec 1, 2013 6:58 PM
    More legal gymnastics by drug abusing Seattle Seahawks.
    ***************
    Good try, but no abuse. Suspending a current employee for things he failed to do for the employer (such as take drug tests) was an over-reach by the NFL.
    ————————–

    Except that he’s actually suspended for failing a drug test.

    He’s being punished for something he DID do. The severity of it is increased because of something he didn’t (and possibly shouldn’t have been required to) do.

    I’m not sure though that remaining a member of the union, and actively making oneself available for employment should mean you are no longer subject to those rules.

  9. dukeearl says: Dec 1, 2013 7:32 PM

    Not at all doctorrustbelt, if you leave a place of employment and they accept you back, everything starts at zero. Unless it is specified in the contract. There is nothing in the CBA about required tests when you no longer work for the NFL, so they can’t go back and punish you for something you did during your previous employment or the space in between.
    Additionally there was the small matter of the NFL leaking the results of the tests. That part is violation of privacy and libelous.
    If you are so impressed to refer to me as a lawyer that is up to you.
    I am no lawyer but I know my rights and browner shares those same rights. It seems more like you are letting your dislike of the Seahawks get in the way of common sense.

  10. dukeearl says: Dec 1, 2013 7:34 PM

    No he isn’t suspended for the failed MJ test. He is being suspended because he missed “required” testing while he was not employed by the NFL.
    He was placed on third warning while NOT employed by the NFL.
    Clearly this is abusive.

  11. doctorrustbelt says: Dec 1, 2013 7:39 PM

    If browner didn’t get busted in 2012… he wouldn’t have been in this position.

    It’s like a guy on parole.
    He’s on parole for what he did… and… anything that gets him back in trouble is due to his original offense.

    GUILTY.

    Stop trying to game the system, Seattle.

  12. doctorrustbelt says: Dec 1, 2013 7:41 PM

    “Browner was suspended for the final four games last season for using performance-enhancing drugs and reportedly had a positive test while with Denver in 2005-06.”

    – Seattle Times

  13. tfbuckfutter says: Dec 1, 2013 8:00 PM

    dukeearl says: Dec 1, 2013 7:34 PM

    No he isn’t suspended for the failed MJ test. He is being suspended because he missed “required” testing while he was not employed by the NFL.
    He was placed on third warning while NOT employed by the NFL.
    Clearly this is abusive.

    ———————-

    You’re arguing that he shouldn’t be suspended while agreeing that he failed a test.

    That’s the point. He’s not being punished for something he didn’t do. He is being punished for something he DID do. The severity of the punishment is arguably too severe, but stop suggesting he isn’t in trouble because of his own behavior.

  14. dukeearl says: Dec 1, 2013 8:08 PM

    No tfbuckfutter, you miss my point. He is being punished as a level 3.
    He clearly is not a level 3 as he was not employed by the NFL for a period of time.
    The punishment “count” would need to start over.
    The employment contract was terminated by the nfl.
    You can’t go back to a previous voided contract and try to punish an employee.

  15. dukeearl says: Dec 1, 2013 8:10 PM

    doctorrustbelt,
    as in my previous post, you can’t punish a player for something done on his previous contract, or between the two different contracts.
    Each signed contract is a legal entity on its own.

  16. FinFan68 says: Dec 1, 2013 8:10 PM

    For all those up in arms over this: how do you police the following scenario? A team cuts all veteran players not subject to waivers as soon as the season ends (or earliest legal point). All those guys immediately start riding up with no gear of tests. They cycle down and get clean right around campus and all are re-signed to the exact same contracts. The camp fodder is released and the juicers are ready to go for the season.

  17. FinFan68 says: Dec 1, 2013 8:16 PM

    Sorry phone thinks it knows what I meant, That should read: “All those guys immediately start ‘roiding up with no fear of tests.” And camp not campus. Wow

  18. tfbuckfutter says: Dec 1, 2013 8:27 PM

    dukeearl, I fully understand the point….and as I pointed out, he was still a member of the union and still actively available for employment. He wasn’t retired. While his contract with a TEAM was no longer in effect, his employment status is still open to debate.

    However, suggesting that players who no longer hold a contract should no longer have their past violations considered going forward is ridiculously stupid because teams could just cut and resign a player after every failed test, resetting the count.

    He is being punished for something HE DID.

  19. dukeearl says: Dec 1, 2013 8:35 PM

    Finfan68, anybody cut would be subject to the terms of the CBA in effect at the time that they sign a new contract.
    Anything else would be similar to releasing an employee and re-hiring them. The employer cannot re-hire an employee and punish them for things that happened during their previous employment.
    To do so would violate due process and a number of other civil liberties.
    The NFL really did the nasty to the proverbial pooch on this one.
    If others get over their hate of the Seahawks they will realize what I am saying.
    I’d even argue that the NFL has no jurisdiction to punish players for something that is otherwise legal as long as it is done on their own time and they are not “under the influence” while performing their job duties.
    I base that on the fact that in no way could marijuana (or adderal for that matter) is a performance enhancing drug. The NFL needs to re-visit the schedule of drugs and be more consistent with the effects. Why would alcohol be allowed and marijuana not?

  20. moustachedone says: Dec 1, 2013 8:36 PM

    I doubt anything will come of this. Many employers require drug testing prior to employment and many trade unions require random drug testing while unemployed and awaiting work with a hiring hall, all of which is regulated by the department of labor.

  21. dukeearl says: Dec 1, 2013 8:38 PM

    tfbuckfutter says:
    Dec 1, 2013 8:27 PM
    dukeearl, I fully understand the point….and as I pointed out, he was still a member of the union and still actively available for employment.
    ************
    Available and actively employed are two different things.
    In the first case, he is not under contract. In the second case he is under contract.

  22. dukeearl says: Dec 1, 2013 8:41 PM

    moustachedone says:
    Dec 1, 2013 8:36 PM
    I doubt anything will come of this. Many employers require drug testing prior to employment and many trade unions require random drug testing while unemployed and awaiting work with a hiring hall, all of which is regulated by the department of labor.
    *************

    I agree fully…. EMPLOYERS require these things.
    If he wasn’t employed he should not be punished as if he was.

    Browner was placed on level 3 status while unemployed, and the notification letters requiring testing were sent to an old address. Any such letters “should” have been sent requiring an acknowledgement of receipt of some type.

  23. FinFan68 says: Dec 1, 2013 8:45 PM

    dukeearl,
    I understand what you are saying but you completely ignored the premise of my question. How do you prevent rampant “legal” cheating under that scenario? The only way possible is to institute the procedures similar to what they have. That is likely a main reason it is there in the first place. I understand what you are getting at but these guys are in no way obligated to work in the NFL and are not forced to return. They can choose to ignore the tests but by doing so they seal their own fate should they ever chose to try to make top 1% money in the NFL again.

  24. dukeearl says: Dec 1, 2013 8:47 PM

    My apologies moustachedone, I re-read your post.
    While I agree that many unions do require random drug testing, the NFLPA does not.
    The only drug testing authorized in the CBA is by the NFL.

  25. dukeearl says: Dec 1, 2013 8:53 PM

    Finfan68, what cheating are you referring to?
    As Browner stated, he is not nor has he ever been a cheater.
    Their responsibility to provide urine samples ends when their contract ends.
    For good or bad, when they sign a new contract, it begins again.
    The only points I are bringing forward are contract law points.
    If you hire a convicted felon, you run the risk of the employee breaking the law again, but you cannot punish him for any acts prior to his employment.

  26. dukeearl says: Dec 1, 2013 9:06 PM

    doctorrustbelt says:
    Dec 1, 2013 7:41 PM
    “Browner was suspended for the final four games last season for using performance-enhancing drugs and reportedly had a positive test while with Denver in 2005-06.”

    – Seattle Times
    ******************
    Going back to this comment, the suspension last year was for Adderal or some other performance enhancing drug.
    The penalties are separate between PED’s and substance abuse.

  27. dedicatedhawkfan says: Dec 1, 2013 9:28 PM

    doctorrustbelt says:
    Dec 1, 2013 7:41 PM
    “Browner was suspended for the final four games last season for using performance-enhancing drugs and reportedly had a positive test while with Denver in 2005-06.”

    – Seattle Times

    “reportedly”. Let’s not overlook the importance of this word. If it were fact, then they wouldn’t use this word. He was suspended for 4 games last year for PEDS, which doctorrustbelt, if you would read the article you would understand that it has NOTHING to do with the issue at hand.

    At this point, everything is speculative, assumptive and/or opinion. It would appear that even the league is unsure of what the true situation is although it sure likes to leak damning information, true or not.

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