Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson is facing a 10-game suspension for taking a banned substance that he says was in a supplement that the NFL Players Association had approved for players to take. The NFLPA says that’s not the case.
Johnson said the app the NFLPA has for players to get information on supplements had told him that he could take the supplement without running afoul of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. But NFLPA spokesman George Atallah says Johnson is wrong, and wrong to say that the NFLPA isn’t helping its members.
“We always stand up for the rights of our players,” Atallah said in a statement. “Mr. Johnson’s statements are factually inaccurate and we have been in touch with both Lane and his agent, who now understand the facts. The NFLPA does not approve any supplements or substances.”
Although the NFLPA does use the app to help players check the list of ingredients on supplement labels against the list of banned substances, that doesn’t necessarily mean taking a supplement will be safe as far as league policy is concerned. Supplements sometimes contain substances not listed on the labels, and the NFL reserves the right to hold players responsible for anything in their bodies, even if they ingest a substance accidentally.
“We constantly remind all players that even if a supplement is ‘checked green’ the supplement provider may not list certain ingredients therein that a player can test positive for,” Atallah said. “For several years, the NFLPA has provided a free service to every NFL player who wishes to have us test a supplement they send to us and this service was offered to Lane.”
Johnson has previously served a four-game suspension for a first violation of the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy. He is now appealing his second violation. If that appeal is unsuccessful, he will be suspended for 10 games.