Revised drug policy will have various new features

Getty Images

If/when (when) the NFLPA adopts the drug policy proposed by the NFL on Friday, the revamped procedures will have a variety of new features.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the policy will include the following terms:

1. An independent arbitrator will hear appeals for positive tests under both the substance-abuse policy and the PED policy. The NFL and NFLPA will jointly select, approve, and pay for a pool of three-to-five arbitrators.

2. The threshold for a positive test for marijuana will increase to 35 ng/ml. The prior limit was 15 ng/ml; the Olympic standard is 150 ng/ml. Also, the policy will have additional steps for players who test positive for the substance, before an initial suspension.

3. All players who tested positive or who were otherwise disciplined or placed into the drug or PED program will have retroactivity, with the new rules being reapplied as of March 11, 2014.

4. A two-game suspension will be issued upon conviction for driving under the influence. However, there will be no action taken after a DUI arrest, as the NFL initially had proposed.

5. Amphetamines taken without a Therapeutic Use Exemption during the offseason will be evaluated under the substance-abuse policy. During the season, a positive test without a TUE will continue to be a violation of the PED policy.

6. Testing for hGH will occur in the 2014 season. There will be no population study, but the players will have the ability to challenge the science during the appeal process. No blood samples will be collected on game days.

7. Independent investigators will be retained to review cases of breached confidentiality. Any employers of the league, the teams, the union, players, and agents found to be in violation of the confidentiality provision will face fines of up to $500,000, termination of employment, or other discipline.

We’ll have more throughout the day as we study and understand the implications of these new terms.

54 responses to “Revised drug policy will have various new features

  1. Please, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Am I going to be able to play Josh Gordon, this season?

  2. Go given how the new limits are retroactive, not clear why Gordon would still be out 8 weeks. Seems he should be able to suit up Sunday

  3. This is a disappointing policy in a lot of ways. It’s nice that HGH testing will be done but why no blood testing done after a game?

    It’s disappointing that suspensions will be reduced and a greater tolerance for ILLEGAL DRUGS. If anything the policy should be harsher on all aspects but of course the NFLPA would never agree to it because a lot of their primadonna players need their damn illegal drugs and their DUIs.

    The league needs to adopt a zero tolerance minimum 1 year ban for illegal drugs, performance enhancers, DUIs, and domestic violence. It is a privilege to play in the NFL not a damn right.

    It’s not hard to not drink, do drugs, drive drunk, or beat women, especially when you have programs in place and are paid millions of dollars.

  4. 2. The threshold for a positive test for marijuana will increase to 35 ng/ml. The prior limit was 15 ng/ml; the Olympic standard is 150 ng/ml. Also, the policy will have additional steps for players who test positive for the substance, before an initial suspension.

    Increased? Nice. Failure.

  5. So Josh Gordon gets to play right away despite the earlier conjecture about having his suspension reduced to 8 games?

  6. This makes no sense to have the drug policy retroactive to ONLY Mar 2014. As both sides have stated, they don’t want players punished under the old rules because they couldn’t come to an agreement on this stuff back in 2011, when it was originally “collectively bargained” and then tabled for 3 years (because they couldn’t come to an agreement, as they have both said)

    SO IT SHOULD BE RETROACTIVE FROM 2011.

    Or at the very least, all current players should be “grandfathered” in.

  7. The reason the Olympic standard is 150 ng/ml is because they wouldn’t have USA basketball or snowboarding with a lower threshold.

  8. “There will be no population study, but the players will have the ability to challenge the science during the appeal process.”

    sounds like a great idea. also like how they mention no blood samples taken on game day like they’re extending a courtesy to the players. i don’t see the PA voting in favor of this.

  9. One minute here…Josh Gordon is suspended for one year driving while impended? Is this monkey justice????

  10. My domestic airline pilot can test 149 ng/ml. and still fly me and another 120 or so lab rats anywhere in the US but a player gets suspended? Another NFL classic fail.

  11. Gross. Just gross. There really has to be a rational basis for why marijuana is still basically criminalized in the NFL. It is not harmful, it actually helps players with pain, & is way less addictive (i.e., pretty much not at all) than the painkillers they give out like candy. This is the NFL still being about 5 years behind society. I’m stunned the players agreed to this. Olympic standard is just too good for the NFL I guess.

  12. This won’t pass and if it does and they test for hgh starting tomorrow there will be no one left to play by week 10.

  13. 35 ng/ml is far too low of a standard, simple urine tests only test to 50 ng/ml.

    NFL, the stuff is LEGAL now – let it go. Test at 150 ng/ml and life will be better for everyone.

  14. Conormacloud—so legality is morality, across the board, period? That’s cure. I’d argue true morality is not imposing ancient & ignorant standards (i.e., ganja policy) on society.

    And if it’s legally medicinal in half the states, is it good enough for you for players to use it that way? Forget about that part? Is there any sport that needs it medicinally more than football?

  15. My read of #3 above means Gordon’s suspension would be fully vacated. Now, obviously we’ll all believe it when we see it. And it sure doesn’t feel like Gordon has any luck at all in avoiding the stiffest penalty for every infraction.

    However, Gordon was suspended in May, 2014, which would qualify as “otherwise disciplined” after March 11, 2014, unless I am missing something? Anybody else read it this way?

    “3. All players who tested positive or who were otherwise disciplined or placed into the drug or PED program will have retroactivity, with the new rules being reapplied as of March 11, 2014.”

  16. “conormacleod says: Sep 12, 2014 3:38 PM

    Am I to understand that marijuana is still illegal in 48 states? Weird, because I swear most people on this site think its legal everywhere.”

    It’s “legal” in 23 states and the DC in some shape or form. 3 states have pending laws. The NFL does not allow for a therapeutic use exemption in medical mj states either.

  17. Weed should not even be in this category that can trigger a suspension any more. It is not performance enhancing and being fully legal in 2 states and legal for medical use in many others its just plain ridiculous to include it at all.

  18. Two games for DUI? As a matter of priority the NFL has their’s all mixed up. Four games for using PEDs which only really harms the record books, but endangering the lives of everyone on the road is two games.

    I understand this was all bargaining the NFL lowers pot allowance (which was and is still way too high) and gets HGH testing, NFL lowers penalty for DUI conviction and marks amphetamines as a PED in season. But lowering the penalty for being convicted of a felony that could and has taken the lives of innocent people shouldn’t be lowered and it shouldn’t have been asked to be lowered. Money talks I guess.

  19. Re: 3rd entry…

    I believe you are overreacting/reading this wrong.

    All players currently in the (old) PED/Drug policy will be retroactively placed in the new policy.

    Even though it’s Sept. 12th, the rules for this policy will be deemed in placed as of 3/11/14.

    Players in the old program, will basically get rolled back to 3/11/14 (including Gordon).

    As of 3/11/14, Gordon’s current suspension is moot due to the increased threshold the policy now operates under.

    Schefter & ESPN jumped the gun (again).

  20. #3 is interesting to me…with the rumors floating that JG will still be suspended 8 games, reading point 3 where it’s says “all players who tested positive OR were otherwise disciplined….” with dates of March 11 2014…JG tested positive before this date BUT was disciplined AFTER this date, some time in May 2014. The legal language will be key in my opinion.

  21. ^Agreed. Many stupid laws exist; to demand blind obedience to a law simply because it’s a law, and not because it’s right, is frankly idiotic. If you think otherwise, Conor, I suggest you go read the Fugitive Slave Act and imagine yourself living in 1850 for a minute or two.

  22. Okay, let me get this straight. Otherwise, useless athletes being paid obscene amounts of money to play a kids’ game are now being released from any real obligation to adhere to responsible behavior regarding illegal (in most states) drug use. Great.

  23. NFL rules are starting to resemble the tax code. Sadly our litigious society has forced them into a micromanaging mindset to cover their butts and now nothing is clear, and everything challengeable. I really miss the good old days when a defensive player could lay the wood without a freaking flag being imminent, or players with entertaining personalities and lifestyles that added color to the league. Too damn corporate now…thanks for nothing CEO Goodell.

  24. 4. A two-game suspension will be issued upon conviction for driving under the influence. However, there will be no action taken after a DUI arrest, as the NFL initially had proposed.

    What about if a guy blows over the legal limit but the lawyer whittles it down to reckless driving? We know how everybody feels about the legal disposition of the Ray Rice thing. The lawyers and union will say it wasn’t a DUI conviction. The behavior should be the determining factor not the skill of the lawyer or the ineptitude/apathy of the local prosecution team.
    ————————
    7. Independent investigators will be retained to review cases of breached confidentiality. Any employers of the league, the teams, the union, players, and agents found to be in violation of the confidentiality provision will face fines of up to $500,000, termination of employment, or other discipline.

    Does this end the public excuses by the player where the league cannot dispute? Looks to me that anything like (it was somebody else’s water bottle, it was adderal, etc. are over)

  25. austindudero says:
    Sep 12, 2014 3:52 PM
    My read of #3 above means Gordon’s suspension would be fully vacated. Now, obviously we’ll all believe it when we see it. And it sure doesn’t feel like Gordon has any luck at all in avoiding the stiffest penalty for every infraction.

    However, Gordon was suspended in May, 2014, which would qualify as “otherwise disciplined” after March 11, 2014, unless I am missing something? Anybody else read it this way?

    “3. All players who tested positive or who were otherwise disciplined or placed into the drug or PED program will have retroactivity, with the new rules being reapplied as of March 11, 2014.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It depends on what aspect they apply the date to. If it is based on when the offense happened (before March 11) then he sits. If it is based on the final disposition (process ended after Mar 11 but likely started before) then he plays. It depends on how specific the language is. If that is the exact language then there is a legal battle because it is not specific.

  26. This policy is a joke. Where is the protocol for league employees? No penalties again?

    Players don’t agree to this nonsense..

    Love the no baseline testing for HGH. Why not?

    Vote this down players. Goodell and the liars in the league office can’t handle simple decisions let alone complex ones

  27. This league and other have become a joke. Last time I checked, the general public needs to take a drug test to get a job, if you fail, you done. , if your hired, then fail a random screen, your fired due to new 0 tol. Policies, including alcohol.

    For the pro pot people (which I am not), good for you and your opinion, but your not living in reality. All people should be subject to the same standards.

    Pipe dream, but just my 2 cents.

  28. The players are getting hoodwinked again. There is absolutely NO reason for the NFL to have such a low threshold regarding marijuana usage. It’s not a performance enhancing drug, is legal in two states and is available by prescription in more than 20 other states. It’s a great alternative Vicodin and other readily addictive pain killers.

    The owners want HGH testing? Then it’s the Olympic Standard, or nothing.

  29. .35 when Olympics are .150

    I wouldn’t sign it unless its 150. NFL is in a bad state from the publics point of view. Leverage that to the max. If Josh Gordon is still suspended and they have to deal with the Ray Rice situation, that will definitely draw more attention from the public.

    Like it or not, Ray Rice and Josh Gordon are forever linked.

  30. Is it all retroactive? Does that mean Aldon Smith’s suspension will be reduced for the DUI portion? I think they gave him 4 games for the dui, is that suppose to be dropped to 2 games?

  31. Retroactivity is a bad idea. If a player went into stage 3 of the substance abuse policy because of a 15Ng positive marijuana test, he would be taken down to the stage two this year. But all previous years mean nothing? Either every case is looked at or you do away with retroactivity. There is no fair way to draw a line and say it’s retroactive back to …this point.

  32. FinFan68,

    “3. All players who tested positive or who were otherwise disciplined or placed into the drug or PED program will have retroactivity, with the new rules being reapplied as of March 11, 2014.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It depends on what aspect they apply the date to. If it is based on when the offense happened (before March 11) then he sits. If it is based on the final disposition (process ended after Mar 11 but likely started before) then he plays. It depends on how specific the language is. If that is the exact language then there is a legal battle because it is not specific.

    Yeah, but it says *disciplined*. Simply testing positive is not discipline. The suspension is. Of course, I don’t think we know for sure when he was suspended. It was widely reported that it happened in May, 2014 sort of, but that doesn’t seem to pass the sniff test. Doesn’t seem reasonable that the NFL would wait from March to May to suspend him. Then again, nothing in this is reasonable at all.

  33. The NFL’s policy re marijuana is absurd. Everyone knows that it’s not performance-enhancing and much less dangerous than alcohol. So, the ONLY time a player should be disciplined for marijuana is if he’s driving while under the influence and is involved in a collision where someone is injured. That’s it!

  34. This is weak and cow tailing to the players. Basically it tells the public it’s ok to use drugs their is a freaking appeal for everything as if the NFL is trying to FRAME it’s employers.

  35. brose1029,

    You got that right. Don’t think any pro player would come to your defense if you failed a drug test and got fired. I think there are too many fantasy football owners on here who want a player back.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.