The NFL has decided to investigate whether five players named in an Al Jazeera documentary on performance-enhancing drugs violated league policy. The NFL Players’ Association questions why mere allegations in a documentary are enough to justify such an investigation.
In a statement released today, the NFLPA noted that the primary source for the Al Jazeera documentary recanted his claims before the documentary even aired. Given that, the union believes the NFL has no basis to question Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, Steelers linebacker James Harrison, free agent defensive end Mike Neal and retired quarterback Peyton Manning.
“The NFL has chosen to initiate an investigation of these players based upon now-recanted statements that appeared in an Al Jazeera report,” the union’s statement said. “The NFLPA requested from the NFL any additional evidence supporting an investigation of the players; the NFL did not provide any such evidence, nor did they inform the NFLPA or the players that any such evidence exists. Instead, the NFL has decided to publicly pressure the players into submission. We will continue to advise our players about their rights and hold the NFL accountable.”
The league says it intends to interview all five players. If the league’s investigation turns up evidence of PED use, the active players could be suspended, even if they’ve never failed a drug test.