At a time when the NFLPA could be facing pressure from players who would benefit, directly or indirectly, from the lifting of suspensions arising from a new drug policy, it turns out that the NFLPA previously has resisted the notion of agreeing to a deal that affects all players simply to help a few of them.
Per a league source, the NFL broached the idea of wiping out Browns receiver Josh Gordon’s one-season suspension while his appeal was pending, in exchange for a final agreement on HGH testing. By raising the permissible level of marijuana metabolites from 15 ng/ml to the Olympic standard of 150 ng/ml under a new drug policy, Gordon’s most recent positive test actually would have been a negative.
But the NFLPA resisted then, just as it’s apparently resisting now. While the NFL surely hopes that the potential elimination of suspensions will prompt calls to the NFLPA from players and the teammates who want them to be available to play, the union seems disinclined to agree to a policy that doesn’t work as well as it could or should for all players.
As to HGH, the players believe that Commissioner Roger Goodell should be willing to sacrifice final say over violations arising from something other than a positive test. The logic is simple; if his decision is fair, a third-party arbitrator will agree.
The issue seems to be big enough to prevent the players and the league from agreeing to adopt a new drug policy swiftly. The league likely assumes the union will bend to help specific players. The union apparently won’t. If the league acknowledges that, maybe the two sides can find a way to work this thing out.