NFLPA says Gordon appeal, drug talks were separate


In response to a Friday night PFT report that the NFL offered to erase Josh Gordon’s suspension in exchange for an agreement on HGH testing, NFLPA spokesman George Atallah has offered the union’s take on the matter.

It didn’t happen that way, Atallah told PFT by phone this morning.

“The union would never negotiate an entire substance-abuse policy or PED policy based on one player,” Atallah said.

Atallah nevertheless confirmed that negotiations on a new substance-abuse policy and PED policy were occurring while Gordon’s appeal was pending.  Atallah also said that, if an agreement had been reached before Gordon’s appeal had been finalized, every player suspended under either policy since March 11, 2014 would have had his status re-examined based on the new rules.

For Gordon, the application of a higher marijuana-metabolite concentration would have erased his most recent positive result, because he registered 16 ng/ml — only one above the current limit of 15 ng/ml.

The difference between the PFT report and Atallah’s explanation could arise from semantics, but it’s important, fair, and accurate to point out that the negotiations were occurring on two separate tracks.  Yes, a deal on a new drug policy would have made Gordon’s appeal moot.  But the offer wasn’t expressly made within the confines of the Gordon appeal.

Meanwhile, maybe the true explanation for the 23-day delay between the conclusion of Gordon’s appeal and the issuance of a ruling is that the league waited to bang the final gavel until determining whether a new drug policy would be finalized.