Browner, agent vow to file suit against the NFL

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The NFL has issued its decision regarding cornerback Brandon Browner’s suspension.  But Browner may still have the last word.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Browner thanked the Seahawks, accepted responsibility for his actions, and vowed to continue to fight his suspension.

“I want to thank the Seahawks organization for the incredible opportunity they gave me when they took a chance on a player who was out of the NFL and playing in the CFL for 4 years,” Browner said.  “I also want to thank all of my teammates, coaches, trainers, staff and the 12’s for their support, respect, and friendship and for helping me grow into the player, father, and person I am today.  I have been treated with nothing but first class by everyone associated with the Seattle Seahawks and for that I am forever grateful.  Although I disagree with the circumstances surrounding my suspension, I accept responsibility for all of my actions and I apologize for any that causes any unflattering reflections of my family and the Seahawks.  I believe in my innocence and will continue to fight with all legal resources available to me to.  Go Hawks!!!”

Browner’s agent, Peter Schaffer, was more direct.

“We will continue to exhaust all administrative remedies,” Schaffer told PFT by phone.  “If not successful, we will sue the living daylights out of the league.”

Browner contends that his suspension resulted from his placement in Stage Three of the substance-abuse program due to tests he missed while not in the NFL from 2006 to 2011.  He had missed enough tests to trigger an indefinite suspension before returning to the league, but he nevertheless was permitted to sign with the Seahawks.  The league thereafter placed Browner in Stage Three of the program.

Negotiations aimed at resolving the suspension failed after Browner refused a suspension through October 2014.  Under the terms of the substance-abuse policy, a violation committed by a player in Stage Three results in an indefinite suspension with the ability to re-apply after one year.

The odds typically are stacked against a player who challenges the outcome of an arbitration procedure in court.  In this case, Browner’s case is strengthened by the fact that he can also sue the NFL for defamation, based on an erroneous report from NFL Media that Browner’s suspension arose under the performance-enhancing drugs policy.  Browner also could fashion claims based on the league’s violation of his confidentiality rights via the league’s in-house media conglomerate.

And that’s where the league’s decision to own and operate a media company that reports on player suspensions could get interesting.  Browner could argue that a report from the NFL’s media outlet regarding his suspension necessarily violates the supposedly stringent confidentiality provision of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

Browner’s situation also could bring into focus other situations that arise when a player no longer is employed by an NFL team, including for example the question of whether players receive appropriate compensation for the use of their names and likenesses in the Madden video game after they have been cut.

25 responses to “Browner, agent vow to file suit against the NFL

  1. So he was in stage 3, from missed tests while not in the league, he knew he was in stage 3 yet still rolled the dice and did something that triggered the suspension. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

  2. You can surmise from his statement that he knows he will not be with the Hawks in the future. I hope he gets his act together and gets back into the league, but truly feel he has not been treated fair. However, bottom line is that if he really knew he was in stage three, he should have stayed clean. He also should have fought the stage three designation while clean and with some credibility. At this point, he is likely to fight the issues presented but doesn’t have much chance of ever being with the Hawks, again.

    Good luck Browner.

  3. I don’t see how the league can require non-employees to take drug tests or penalize them for not doing so.

    Testing is invasive and certainly violates the right to privacy if you are not their employee. He’ll win his suit and quite a lot of money from the NFL I think.

  4. Funny how his agent wrote the standard form letter for his client and then wrote a threatening letter at the same time.

  5. Players accepted the drug tests in their contracts, they think it’s invasive they can join the CFL, it’s a free country NFL is private organization that can require what it wants as long as it isn’t unlawful which drug testing is not.

  6. I am willing to bet that there are a lot of posters here that would change their tune if, after the suspension is over or resolved, their team signed him.

  7. This suspension isn’t based on any PEDs. Also, he’s accepting responsibility. This is his first failed test, which would actually only place him in stage 2/3. There is a huge difference between stage 2/3 and a 1 year suspension.

  8. So wait, we expect players in the CFL to submit to NFL drug tests, but we don’t require people getting government financial support to submit to drug testing? Only in the country I love.

  9. as a hawks fan I have no sympathy. regardless of how he got to stage 3 he broke the rules and got caught. why take the chance especially at the peak of your career. goodbye browner. your backups will be proud to shine in your absence.

  10. Wasn’t this same player suspended last season as well?

    As to the question about whether a player that is no longer on a team in the league is subject to random testing? Yes they are. As long as you maintain your status in the Players union, and avail yourself to the leagues teams for possible employment, you are subject to testing.

  11. The NFL Network was first to “announce” the news about his suspension and that he had violated the performance-enhancing drug program… but in actuality, it was just the drug abuse program. So all the comments about juicing and cheating are wrong, he got busted for having weed in his system. The fact that he started out in Phase Three of the program (for missing tests when he wasn’t in the league) caused him to get an indefinite suspension with his first failed test. Obviously that is unfair and the defamation lawsuit comes from the NFL wrongly reporting information that damaged his reputation (see all above comments regarding “juicing” and “cheating”). And all this in a state where you can legally possess and consume marijuana in private.


  12. Better save that money instead of wasting it on your lawyers to sue the NFL and lose.

    Looks like you’re not gonna be drawing an NFL paycheck for quite a while.

  13. Why are they even testing for pot ? Also if the players are being tested for non performance drugs then so should ALL employees of every team , let’s see the owners change their tune when they have to pee in a cup , wonder how many people in the marketing depts come up hot for dope or coke , hypocrites

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