The new substance-abuse policy dramatically reduced the punishment for players who test positive for banned compounds like marijuana. Which means that more violations of the policy are now required to trigger a four-game suspension.
For Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant, the proposed four-game suspension means that the league believes he has violated the policy a second time while in Stage Two of the three-stage program.
Given the changes to the policy, the Steelers should be alarmed that Bryant already is facing a four-game suspension. It means that, only 16 months after he was drafted, he has failed to choose football over a banned substance on multiple occasions.
If he continues to not choose football over one or more banned substances, he eventually will face a 10-game suspension and, after that, a minimum suspension of one year.
The good news for the Steelers and Bryant is that, under the substance-abuse policy that was in place when Bryant joined the team, he possibly would be facing a one-year suspension now. The better news is that the new substance-abuse policy removes from Commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee final say over the punishment, with neutral arbitration available for Bryant to present any arguments he may have in support of the position that he didn’t violate the policy, this time.
Still, if he loses, Bryant could eventually be facing a one-year suspension — with a requirement to pass up to 10 tests per months in order to get reinstated.