NFLPA agrees: NFL needs “credible evidence” before players must respond to PED charges

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The plain language of the NFL’s PED policy indicates that, before a player ever talks to the league or otherwise provides information regarding a potential violation arising from anything other than a positive test, the league must have “credible documented evidence” that a violation happened. Per a source with knowledge of the union’s thinking on the issue, the NFL Players Association agrees with that assessment and procedure.

Put as simply as possible, if the league believes that it has “credible documented evidence” of a violation arising from something other than a positive PED test, the league should impose discipline, which then triggers the obligation of the players to provide information via the appeal process.

Although NFLPA spokesman George Atallah didn’t put it that bluntly during a Tuesday appearance on PFT Live, that was the clear gist of his remarks.

“The interpretation has been there for many, many years that we need, from our perspective, we need some sort of credible evidence beyond just eight lines in a dialogue where the main source recanted everything he said in order to trigger a full-blown investigation the way the league has positioned it,” Atallah said. “So I think from our point of view, we are where we are because in the report from December they had one source, that one source recanted everything. You know, for a guy like James Harrison, I mean we pulled all of the documentary. Our attorneys watched the whole thing over and over again to see what exactly was alleged during that report and all we came up with for a guy like James was literally eight lines of a dialogue in a piece where Charlie Sly, the source, recanted all of his statements. So we certainly don’t think that that’s enough to merit an investigation. You and I both know that people say a bunch of crazy things on media and social media and if were in a world where the league wanted to investigate every time somebody tweeted something about a player they’d have a whole heck of a lot of staff they’d need to hire to do that.”

Thus, even though the NFL has said that the interviews of the players implicated in the Al Jazeera report will happen at the opening of training camp, the NFLPA does not yet believe the time has come for the players to speak.

“We’re at the point now where the process, we believe, dictates that we need specific credible evidence to make a determination and recommendation for how the players are going to move forward,” Atallah said. “The league has not provided that evidence yet beyond, again, the initial report that was there. They have said to us that the MLB is looking into it and USADA is looking into it. That frankly so far is not enough.”

The league apparently thinks it is enough, to the point where the NFL apparently will take action against players who fail to submit to an interview.

“If you take the league at their word from the letter that they leaked on Friday, they are threatening to impose some sort of discipline if the players don’t cooperate so I would assume that that would trigger some sort of mechanism by which an arbitrator would have to resolve this,” Atallah said. “Our position [is] pretty clear. They have not provided anything beyond the report to substantiate doing a full-blown investigation and the dance goes on.”

It could be, as suggested in our Tuesday item, that the league doesn’t want to impose discipline based simply on the Al Jazeera report, and that the NFL hopes the players will say something during interviews that will in some way conflict with whatever objective evidence the NFL has gathered, justifying the finding of a violation. The NFLPA strongly objects to this approach, if that’s what the NFL is doing.

“That’s not a fair due process and I think that is a concern that has been highlighted in the way that they have done other investigations in the past,” Atallah said. “If this was a league office that had a shred of integrity left then there would not be this issue at the moment and we would have figured out a way already to resolve this. If we had a group of players and a group of fans and media who had a shred of confidence in the way that they proceed with these issues we would not be having this discussion about whether or not they have the right to investigate or not because we would have resolved this thing already. They’re not in the business of resolving issues quietly, amicably, and in a way that’s best for business. They just are interested in imposing their will any which way they want, and we’re always going to stand up for our players rights.”

If that means the players will refuse to be interviewed, this one could get a lot more interesting once training camps open.

48 responses to “NFLPA agrees: NFL needs “credible evidence” before players must respond to PED charges

  1. You know who inspired the current NFL dictatorship ? The NFLPA agreeing to give virtually unlimited power for one man to be a judge, jury and executioner. The players don’t like it and the fans boo Roger at every draft but it’s the player’s own fault.

    Best advice: Don’t hate the game, hate the people that let this happen and don’t let it happen again.

    P.S. Pats cheat every chance they get at home, microphones in opposing locker rooms & game manipulatioms including equipment / clock. It’s a den of borrors for opposing teams, nothing is earned or sacred there at all. Brady got busted & he paid for the trainers silence through gear, everyone needs to face those known facts and move on from the farce that is Brady’s lawsuit which ends today. You heard it hear first, today it ends.

  2. I believe that having a shipment of HGH sent to your house under the name Mrs. Ashley falls under the definition of CREDIBLE EVIDENCE.

  3. I think it is hilarious that James Harrison pumped his body full of steroids and was still just a mediocre LB. He will be forgotten about in two years. The immortal Ray Lewis played clean and is a legend of the NFL. He showed children the right way to be a leader in life. Cheers!

  4. Don’t worry fans of teams who these players play(ed) for, the NFL just changes the rules as it goes, so, for example, if they want to claim after the fact that something is just like using PEDs, they can punish them for it even without any evidence whatsoever. Because INTEGRITY.

    The NFL will extract their pound of flesh if they want to. Don’t say we (Saints, Patriots, and Chiefs fans) didn’t warn you.

  5. Like anyone in Goodells office knows what the work “Credible” means. If they have just a hint that it’s “..more likely than not” that they were in the same room a vial of HGH… their gone.

  6. For all of you anti Patriots that just want Brady yo “man up” and take the punishment due to article 46, do you feel the same way about the current players and Manning having their rights abused?
    Your team could be next. BTW, Incognito handed over his cell and everything was summarily leaked.
    The NFL and Roger and his cronies have no scruples or integrity. They are the last people I would trust with my cell, or anything sensitive for that matter.

  7. Certainly is more “credible evidence” against these guys than there was against Brady (blah blah, text msg from previous spring, blah blah phone) thats not evidence.

    Same people who were all torches and pitchforks in framegate now say pump the brakes on these guys? Whats good for the goose, fellas….

  8. Oh come on. We all know Goodell does not need any evidence to dispense his brand of justice.

  9. I agree and have first hand knowledge as every other NFL fan in this country has, that the management of the NFL and it’s Commissioner Roger Goodell cannot be trusted to tell the truth, or to be fair when dealing with players. The Deflategate dilemma has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that truth and justice is of no interest to the NFL when dealing with the rights of their players and sooner or later it will bite them right on the ass, hopefully sooner than later.

  10. Wait a minute. The league is considering/threatening discipline for not submitting meekly to a witch hunt (or in this case close enough to one.) This sounds vaguely familiar. I am glad Harrisn has already begun spouting off. He is clearly not afraid of any negative marketing impact from doing so. It is the best way to approach this.

  11. “If this was a league office that had a shred of integrity left” – That is beautiful! Roger is trying to hang onto the wheel while his boat is being smashed on the rocks. Since when is Al Jazeera a credible source? They never even achieved relevant, much less credible.

  12. Maybe this will be the case that blows the NFL open. If the league has no evidence against a player, how can you convict? You manufacture it so either the player will mess up because of being confused on something, or if they don’t show up or cooperate that’s your smoking gun. Even if you have no proof they did it, it always has a door number 3 to somehow convict you.

  13. I agree with the NFLPA to a point.

    It is extremely disingenuous to say Sly “recanted” his story. Any viewing of the video shows a completely unnatural reading of a prepared script where he says he doesn’t know what he said but is taking it back. He also looks off camera several times for validation from someone. In short, his “recantation” looks forced and under duress.

  14. pkrjones while I agree with the sentiment about Goodell, Al Jazeera has actually been an internationally credible news organization for years. It’s not Al Jazeera I don’t trust, it’s the NFL.

  15. Since when did the NFL need “credible evidence” to investigate? Or even a player-rule to find a player guilty? There was nothing but a single secret unsubstantiated claim against Brady that he had no chance to answer to before a botched illegal keystone-cop sting found no clear evidence anyway. And even if the balls were deflated it’s not a violation of any player-rules! Instead it’s a team-policy rule resulting in a small fine for the team – hence what happened to the Jets when they manipulated k-balls.

    But despite all that, Brady is suspended, team fined $1M and lost picks. So I ask again, what evidence or rule does the league need to destroy any player’s reputation or any team’s chances or draft?

  16. Al Jazeera America has won six awards for various investigative reports in just the past two years, with three other nominations. It has won another six awards for its documentary productions, two of which won 2014 Peabody Awards, the highest possible honor for “public service” in American media.

    The above was a quote from a CBS sight. (Sorry NBC)

  17. Again, The League needs to show that they have absolute power. One more court victory would all but guarantee that the players would give up a major chunk of cash, or agree to a 17 or 18 game schedule in order to get that power back in the next CBA. No one in the NFL cares if anyone is cheating, they just need to keep testing the powers of Goodell so they can sell those powers back to the players.

  18. I don’t care what some unions says. If there is an actual news report with specific names then it goes without saying there has to be some kind of investigation. If the NFL does nothing then everyone will whine about a cover up.

  19. factschecker says:
    Jun 29, 2016 8:48 AM
    Al Jazeera America has won six awards for various investigative reports in just the past two years, with three other nominations. It has won another six awards for its documentary productions, two of which won 2014 Peabody Awards, the highest possible honor for “public service” in American media.

    The above was a quote from a CBS sight. (Sorry NBC)

    factschecker – those awards were provided by liberal hacks trying to legitimize a terrorist news outlet. Come on man, you can do better than that.

  20. sonhoodoo says:
    Jun 29, 2016 8:34 AM

    I agree with the NFLPA to a point.

    It is extremely disingenuous to say Sly “recanted” his story. Any viewing of the video shows a completely unnatural reading of a prepared script where he says he doesn’t know what he said but is taking it back. He also looks off camera several times for validation from someone. In short, his “recantation” looks forced and under duress.
    —————————–

    Those goons that Manning, Inc. sent down to intimidate his parents, were probably off camera making throat slashing gestures.

  21. Wait a second, Goodel said that Brady using footballs that were under by 0.5 psi was equivalent to PED use – and there is NO EVIDENCE to prove this to be true and NO EVIDENCE to prove anything other then = COLD WEATHER NATURALLY Deflates Footballs.

    I think we need an ‘Impartial’ investigation

  22. credible evidence…..like a game where BOTH teams balls are tested and found to be under inflated and then totally ignoring the one team and crucifying the other team…..yeah the NFL is BIG on CREDIBILITY.
    FIRE GOODELL
    FREE BRADY

  23. At this point, NFL PA is the odd man out. They can jump up and down all they want, but if the NFL wants to investigate, they will.

    Much like with the PSI readings they took last year, just because people think they’re entitled to specific information doesn’t mean they are. The NFL PA can say they deserve to know what evidence the NFL currently has to warrant further investigation, but that doesn’t make it so…it just plays to the crowds.

    If a player’s cooperation in an investigation is already implied (as it has been previously), I suppose they can try suing the league to prevent it…that might delay it long enough for Harrison to retire.

  24. ravanator, Are you talking about the Ray Lewis that was convicted in a murder case? That Ray Lewis? Yeah, he is exactly the role model I would want for my grandkids.

  25. factschecker – those awards were provided by liberal hacks trying to legitimize a terrorist news outlet. Come on man, you can do better than that.
    ———
    Good god man. Watch the documentary. Everyone in it is an American and it all takes place in America. (Except for the British undercover Olympian that successfully infiltrates the US doping black-market.)

    The main settings are Austin TX, Indianapolis IN and Bronx NY. These don’t seem to me like guys bragging and throwing names around. To me these seem like guys that know how the game is played and seem pretty good at playing the game themselves.

  26. I find it curious that the NFL also didn’t have any evidence before attempting the sting on the Patriots during the AFCCG against the Colts.

    All they had was an email from the Colts’ equipment manager, forwarded by Grigson to NFL execs, who then forwarded it to a number of other NFL execs and employees. That email (only part of which is actually provided in the Wells report) claims that it was well known throughout the league that the Patriots let air out of balls after they were inspected.

    When Wells’ investigators asked questions:

    1. Colts could not provide any source or backup information for that claim.
    2. league execs supposedly did not put enough stock into the Colts’ claim to actually tell Walt Anderson to watch out for any shenanigans after the balls were tested, instead telling Walt only to make sure he tested them properly.

    Then of course they made sure NFL Director of Investigative Services John Raucci was on hand for the game in order to grill people after the sting, if needed.

    Interestingly, two Ravens coaches were interviewed during the investigation, but there is no mention of why in the report. Could it be that the part of that Colts’ email that was left out of the report mentioned the Ravens?

    We need some transparency in order to believe anything the NFL says.

  27. factschecker says:
    Jun 29, 2016 10:00 AM

    Good god man. Watch the documentary.

    ——–

    Why would anyone do that? it is much easier to just shoot from the hip based on opinion, innuendo, assumptions, and stereotypes.

  28. mikeytoth says:
    Jun 29, 2016 8:28 AM
    Maybe this will be the case that blows the NFL open. If the league has no evidence against a player, how can you convict? You manufacture it so either the player will mess up because of being confused on something, or if they don’t show up or cooperate that’s your smoking gun. Even if you have no proof they did it, it always has a door number 3 to somehow convict you.
    ———————————————————–
    Seriously? This is the case to blow the NFL open? Guessing you’re a fan of one of the players implicated so now the fact that the NFL has been legally given the right to do as the commissioner seems fit to players including making up evidence, lying about testimony of the accused, punishing one team but not the other when tested balls of each team were found to be equally deflated, etc. At least this is a case where something the NFL actually cared about is being investigated, PED’s. For goodness sakes Goodell magically turned deflating footballs into a PED case. The case that might end up in the SCOTUS was about .2 psi, something the NFL had never tested once in it’s history. Look, I’m on your side. I can’t trust the NFL for one second to do the right thing. My point is that Saints and Patriot fans saw the NFL for what it was because they were invested in the team being affected. Warned those who mocked us that it could and probably would eventually get every team. Then the Chiefs happened and now several teams are involved in at best a flimsy investigation. There are those, and they know who they are, who will always and forever believe the saints and pats players were guilty. Well that’s on them. They are the proverbial lost cause. But there are others who are now seeing the light. Amazing what happens when you open your eyes and actually see what’s going on.

  29. So let me get this straight

    The only “credible evidence” in Deflategate are the PSI readings which every physicist has said is only “credible evidence” that NO DEFLATION OCCURRED

    But Roger, and the owners who need to get by Brady and the Patriots, need to justify benching Brady for a quarter of a season so they cite the CBA’s PED language

    But in the case of an actual PED violation, unless there is “credible evidence” not even an interview can occur – thus we shouldn’t be expecting these guys to cooperate

    Meanwhile Ted Wells himself stated that Brady “fully cooperated” in the investigation, allowing himself to be interviewed without any evidence – and even agreed to turn over his private cellphone, text and email logs (in compliance with Ted Wells request, who repeatedly assured Brady that the NFL didn’t want, need, or have a right to his cellphone itself).

    Goodell then once again moves the goalposts (as a “fair arbitrator” now) and forgetting about Brady’s appeal, but instead demanding the cellphone they previously did not want and now citing THAT as the reason to suspend Brady for 4 games

    Not even Goodell would give up his personal cellphone when FBI Director Mueller demanded it (which most fans appear clueless about)

    But Brady’s full compliance and cooperation – with the exception of doing EXACTLY what Roger Goodell himself did – is now the basis for everyone saying this is PROOF of his guilt?

    And again – proof of WHAT? The”credible evidence” actually exonerates Brady!

    If this were a murder trial Goodell and the fans owners of 31 other teams would be citing circumstantial evidence as proof of Brady’s guilt despite the appearance of a live “victim” in court!

    PLEASE! Try not to all be as gullible as Roger and the Owners HOPE you are!

    Face it folks. The commissioner of the sport we love is completely corrupt. They are trying to fix games and fix the outcome of the season by openly and blatantly suspending the perennial MVP of the perennial Super Bowl contender for a QUARTER OF A SEASON!

    That makes the NBA Game Fixing Scandal (in case you think this doesn’t happen) look minor in comparison.

    I’ll give NBA fans credit – if the NBA commissioner trumped up a quarter season suspension for LeBron or Steph Curry, NO FAN of ANY team would stand for that

    They put their love of the sport first and foremost – as it should be

    So WAKE UP fans of the other 31 franchises.

    Be an NFL fan FIRST and DEMAND that the Owners follow their OWN RULES in Article VIII and “employ a person of unquestioned integrity as commissioner”

    No one has less “unquestioned integrity” than Roger Goodell

    Every owner should have to stand up and publicly state whether they think Goodell has “unquestioned integrity” – and if they do, well, then we have our proof that the NFL is corrupt and unfair, and it’s time to start a new league

    If other fans can’t see this, I feel sorry for them

  30. I thought “more likely than not” qualifies for evidence.

    What the NFL needs is an independent investigatior, who uses research firms that tell you second hand smoke does not have any link to cancer and weather does not effect air pressure (even though the NFL used two sets of footballs for the Seattle – Minnesota game because they were worried about air pressure), to get to the bottom of this.

    I hope either the Saints or the Patriots win the super bowl and on the podium Drew Brees or Tom Brady knee Goodell in the balls and launch him over the side WWE style.

    He runs a corrupt kingdom, he knows it and rubs everyone’s face in it.

  31. Anyone intelligent knows PEDton is a filthy cheat, the HGH from that shady organization connected to BALCO was NOT for his wife. 🙂 Now look at Patriot Hater get mad… tee hee 🙂 Their hands are shaking with rage as they furiously type up some babble in response but it’s a feeble effort because I completely and thoroughly own every single Patriot Hater on this site. 🙂

    With that said… I am 100% on the NFLPA’s side. The NFL clearly can’t be trusted on any issue, concussions, integrity of the game, you name it. Time for the union to lay the smack down.

  32. ravanator, Are you talking about the Ray Lewis that was convicted in a murder case? That Ray Lewis? Yeah, he is exactly the role model I would want for my grandkids.
    ———————————————————————
    I think ravanator also forgot about the antler spray crap Lewis was busted for but you know once a homer…

  33. Look at little wussies cry to the league to keep Tom Brady on the bench and help their little weaklings beat the Patriots!

    Maybe if you clowns had a real man’s team that could beat the 4 time World Champions fair and square you’d get respect from us. But you don’t. 🙂 Tee hee 🙂

    You’re NOTHING boy.

    🙂

  34. You guys are so caught up in this back and forth about deflategate that you forget the NFL has a duty to prevent cheating. Which is what the Al Jazeera report is about.

  35. If the NFLPA had a ‘shred of integrity’ we wouldn’t have these idiotic fights all the time. It is a complete joke. Would love to see the NFL implode and put all those overpaid prima donnas out of work.

  36. Ray Lewis was a great role model, and lived clean?!?? baahahahhaha. The murderer…. The guy who came back from torn triceps in six weeks. Im sure that was natural… Give me a break.

  37. skoobyfl says:
    Jun 29, 2016 7:02 AM
    You know who inspired the current NFL dictatorship ? The NFLPA agreeing to give virtually unlimited power for one man to be a judge, jury and executioner. The players don’t like it and the fans boo Roger at every draft but it’s the player’s own fault.

    Best advice: Don’t hate the game, hate the people that let this happen and don’t let it happen again.

    P.S. Pats cheat every chance they get at home, microphones in opposing locker rooms & game manipulatioms including equipment / clock. It’s a den of borrors for opposing teams, nothing is earned or sacred there at all. Brady got busted & he paid for the trainers silence through gear, everyone needs to face those known facts and move on from the farce that is Brady’s lawsuit which ends today. You heard it hear first, today it ends.

    13 64
    Report comment

    Your point that the CBA was negotiated in as fair a manner as is possible , considering the economic and political environment , is not without a spinal column .
    However the following comedy routine break down , while promising , has no bone at all . While competently covering most , if not all , the fascinating boogy woogy points made despite concrete , or to coin a phrase “non boogy woogy contrarian pointers” ; or those whose process is destroying the rationale for the sounds of those Angels Singing their hearts out , on the head of a pin , where those points are tirelessly , tendentiously , repeated . The product all mashed up and served as an elegant riposte , while the tiny choir master glances nervously at the devil he knows , and brother he knows . Later that same afternoon , a whitish raven passes on reliable(ish) rumour that the unfamiliar Devil beats the Devil he knows (not good) .
    As for the dessert you have such muscular confidence in , I recall a morbid cast to that shining example of prognostication , that what seems so sweet turns so sour , if we can believe George Harrison , amongst many , many others .

  38. skoobyfl says:
    Jun 29, 2016 7:02 AM

    You know who inspired the current NFL dictatorship ? The NFLPA agreeing to give virtually unlimited power for one man to be a judge, jury and executioner. The players don’t like it and the fans boo Roger at every draft but it’s the player’s own fault.

    Best advice: Don’t hate the game, hate the people that let this happen and don’t let it happen again.

    P.S. Pats cheat every chance they get at home, microphones in opposing locker rooms & game manipulatioms including equipment / clock. It’s a den of borrors for opposing teams, nothing is earned or sacred there at all. Brady got busted & he paid for the trainers silence through gear, everyone needs to face those known facts and move on from the farce that is Brady’s lawsuit which ends today. You heard it hear first, today it ends.
    ……

    Nope, CBA does not give Goodell the right to violate federal labor laws and precedents. No matter how much power article 46 gives, the commissioner cannot violate the law. Which, with Brady, he blatantly did. You can’t give one arbitration party full access to evidence and not the other and you cannot change the terms of punishment as an appeals arbitrator which is exactly what Goodell did.
    And your “P.S.” Brady comments offered zero evidence. It’s pure speculation that is not supported by the facts.

  39. superpatriotsfan says:
    Jun 29, 2016 10:39 AM

    See Pats fans! Before you go on your witch hunt for GOAT Peyton Manning, you better hear what he has to say.

    ………..

    I’d love to hear what Peyton has to say. If he avoids the NFL investigation completely and never files his promised lawsuit, this will always linger over his legacy. It’s in his interest to clear the report up. He’s got to take a page from Brady’s book and fight it to the bitter end.

  40. superpatriotsfan says:
    Jun 29, 2016 10:39 AM

    See Pats fans! Before you go on your witch hunt for GOAT Peyton Manning, you better hear what he has to say.


    Brady: going all the way to fight the frame job against him from a league trying to do favors for a few weaklings in the league who aren’t man enough to put in the work and effort to beat him and his team on the field. And their wussy fans who aren’t demanding better of their teams.

    Manning: Denied it, just like Lance Armstrong did. But curiously…not going to sue.

    Says it all doesn’t it.

    #TeeFreakingHee

    🙂

  41. “If this was a league office that had a shred of integrity left then there would not be this issue at the moment and we would have figured out a way already to resolve this. If we had a group of players and a group of fans and media who had a shred of confidence in the way that they proceed with these issues we would not be having this discussion about whether or not they have the right to investigate or not because we would have resolved this thing already.”

    And there you have it. No doubt both the league and the players want this to just go away. It is a PR nightmare for a league office that can’t be seen to be doing nothing in the face of what the documentary exposed. All the more so because even when it is probably in the best interest of the NFLPA to at least give the appearance of going along so the league can sweep this under the rug they can’t trust the commissioner to do the right thing or even keep his word. For Goodell and company this is a classic case of reaping as you have sown. Players, fans, media and even some owners all distrust the league office and they have no one to blame but themselves.

    For those spouting about what the players gave away in the CBA, the language giving the commissioner the power Goodell has abused has been in the CBA since 1969. It is only the blind abuse of it that has brought us to this point.

  42. For those spouting about what the players gave away in the CBA, the language giving the commissioner the power Goodell has abused has been in the CBA since 1969. It is only the blind abuse of it that has brought us to this point.

    3 1
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    The Lord of NY has spoken all heed his word!

    You tell school is out ….the tee Hee freak is back with a new name. Makes you real proud to be a Pat’s fan.

  43. …Everyone needs to face those known facts and move on from the farce that is Brady’s lawsuit which ends today. You heard it hear first, today it ends.
    ——————————

    After 9:30 PM on Wednesday and no word from the court. Excellent prediction.

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