Although the NFL’s investigation into allegations that four players used performance-enhancing drugs has cooled down, it may soon heat up again.
The four players — Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, Steelers linebacker James Harrison and free agent defensive end Mike Neal — will be suspended if they don’t give interviews to league investigators by August 25, the NFL informed the NFL Players Association. The league told the union of its stance in a letter that was obtained by PFT and multiple other media outlets.
The letter indicates that the players would be suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the league, rather than simply suspended four games for a first violation of the league’s PED policy.
“The suspension for each such player will begin on Friday, August 26 and will continue until he has fully participated in an interview with league investigators, after which the Commissioner will determine whether and when the suspension should be lifted,” the letter states.
An Al Jazeera documentary named the four players as having received performance-enhancing drugs. That documentary also named Peyton Manning, but the NFL has already announced that Manning cooperated with the league’s investigation and that there was no credible evidence that he used or possessed PEDs.
The other four players and the NFLPA insist that they are not required to participate in any NFL investigation unless the league has “credible evidence” that they used PEDs. The league says that the purpose of the investigation is to determine whether there’s “credible evidence,” and that the players should participate. Unless the four players have a change of heart and agree to give interviews to NFL investigators, this appears to be shaping up as another battle between the league and the union.