Status of Edelman case underscores importance of confidentiality

AP

The NFL’s PED policy contains a clear and unambiguous confidentiality provision that, unfortunately, is never enforced. And in no case would enforcement be more appropriate than in the case of Patriots receiver Julian Edelman.

If Edelman tested positive for a substance that has not yet been identified, and if further testing results in a finding that the substance is not a performance-enhancing drug, Edelman will indeed win his appeal. (It’s a defense much more persuasive than, “I don’t know what happened.”)

And if Edelman wins his appeal, it will mean that no one ever should have known about the tentative positive. Which means that Edelman will unfairly be viewed by plenty of fans as a guy who violated the PED policy, even if it turns out that he never did.

The PED policy provides that the NFL and the NFL Players Association “may, in appropriate cases, agree to retain an independent investigator to investigate and report on alleged breaches of confidentiality,” with fines of up to $500,000 potentially imposed.

In this case, someone breached the confidentiality provision by leaking to Field Yates and Adam Schefter of ESPN the fact that Edelman is facing a suspension. Someone then told Kim Jones of NFL Media (an NFL employee who, unlike Yates and Schefter, would be subject to the confidentiality provision) that the information was accurate. So what will the NFL and the NFLPA do about it?

Probably nothing, because the NFL and NFLPA never do anything when it comes to breaches of the confidentiality provision. Even when a player is clearly victimized by the breach, because Edelman will be stigmatized by the report of a potential PED suspension, regardless of whether further testing results in a finding that Edelman didn’t violate the policy.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen when Edelman’s case will be resolved. Per a league source, a date for the appeal hearing hasn’t been selected yet. Presumably, further testing in the interim could exonerate Edelman.

Regardless of how it all turns out, no one should know that Edelman is facing a PED suspension. If the NFL and NFLPA were serious about the confidentiality provision in the PED policy, perhaps no one would.

70 responses to “Status of Edelman case underscores importance of confidentiality

  1. Always an issue with the Patriots. Cheating, lying, breaking the rules, questionable calls in their favor all the time, favorable scheduling year in and year out. It’s almost like the Goodell wants them to win. And just to point out all the times the Patriots were caught cheating wasn’t by Goodell but by other teams.

  2. The NFLPA is not only the worst union in sports, it might be the worst union in the history of labor. They are in the owners pockets, and simply getting paid to do nothing. When has this union challenged ownership? They simply do as the owners say.

  3. I really don’t get how the NFL can look at it’s self and not say we could do better here. Being one of the worlds major sports brands you would think they could run their organisation better than they do. They always seem to be tripping over themselves.

  4. Let’s face it, Unions are no longer needed in this country…much less unions for professional sports. The players (if they had any brains) can negotiate great deals since they have so much leverage…unions are just useless. They are for others to get rich while providing nothing. No, wait…the UAW and other labor unions are good at keeping people that use drugs, so they don’t get fired like they should. They also love giving money to the democrat party…just a money laundering scheme actually.

  5. If the UFC has taught us anything, its that PED testing is murky.

    If I’m an NFL player, I’d be flooding the NFL with boxes of supplements for testing. I would do it every day and track the turnaround time.

    If 5% of the players did this, the system would crack in half.

  6. ITs like the NFL LEAGUE OFFICE aspires to nothing but to be the TMZ of sports……

  7. NFL is clearly responsible here. NFL requires Edelman to have a test done. The nfl secured the services of a drug testing firm to take a sample. The nfl pays that firm for their services. This is a medical issue so they, the nfl, is in violation of HIPPA and should be held responsible. NFL responsibility to find out where these leaks are coming from. Players should start airing the nfl when there is a leak. Especially players like Wdelman that’s near the end of his career. There’s not much the nfl could do to him anymore

    A huge settlement to the player would certainly stop the leaks because the nfl will not want to be hit again with a lawsuit they have no chance of winning. Does that sound right or am I off track here ?

  8. I always wonder about leaks and unnamed sources in sports articles. What incentive does the average insider have to feed Adam Schefter or other reporters info? The leakers could lose their jobs. Do the reporters pay them?

  9. patriotmaleorgy says:
    June 11, 2018 at 2:02 pm
    Always an issue with the Patriots. Cheating, lying, breaking the rules, questionable calls in their favor all the time, favorable scheduling year in and year out. It’s almost like the Goodell wants them to win. And just to point out all the times the Patriots were caught cheating wasn’t by Goodell but by other teams.

    ——–

    Translation: “The Patriots have beat my team like a drum for so long I can’t even think straight. I just hope that Goodell and the other owners cook something up to penalize them because there is no way my team can beat them on their own”

  10. Well, you just have to wonder who the mole at Reddit is and it’s someone who was told to leak this out, forcing the NFL again to get out in front of the narrative to sway public opinion.

    In other words, the NFL can ignore this all summer, hope everyone forgets, and if pressed about which drug he tested positive for, Goodell can just cite “Article 46”.

    Which, of course, we know is cheating at this point.

    It’s just unreal to me this can happen, but only to teams where certain owners demand it does happen to them.

  11. .
    @orgy

    ” Always an issue with the Patriots. Cheating, lying, breaking the rules, questionable calls in their favor all the time, favorable scheduling year in and year out. It’s almost like the Goodell wants them to win.”
    _______

    Please cite specifics of how the Patriots obtain favorable scheduling year in and year out.
    .

  12. By contractual agreement with the NFLPA, all players are subject, at any time, to be tested for substance abuse and PED’s. Edelman failed a test and is thus subject to potential suspension. That he is challenging the test result is a secondary issue. The rest of the league (read competitors) have a right to know who is using what –as do the customers who are paying the bills — we the fans.

  13. I would argue for an NFLPA/NFL CBA that included a provision that the suspension/fine be automatically vacated, if leak is by NFL and unappealable/doubled if by the player/union camps.

  14. Honestly I didn’t think this was possible until after an appeal is heard. The NFL doesn’t announce suspensions like this unless and until the appeal is lost by the player. I find it hard to believe that anyone in the NFL management would “leak” a story like this. There is no incentive. Possibly it came from someone who knows Mr. Edelman personally and heard it from him. Or another player with a grudge against him who wanted to “dirty him up.” Can’t say I know, it just seems far fetched to me that an NFL executive would throw this story out to a reporter knowing that 1. It is not permitted and 2. The testing/appeal process hasn’t even been completed.

  15. “Someone then told Kim Jones of NFL Media (an NFL employee who, unlike Yates and Schefter, would be subject to the confidentiality provision) that the information was accurate. So what will the NFL and the NFLPA do about it?”
    ===============================

    The link said Kim Jones spoke with “a source informed of the situation.” That source can easily be ESPN Adam Schefter who was informed of the situation, and no breach of confidentiality.

  16. patriotmaleorgy says:

    June 11, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Always an issue with the Patriots. Cheating, lying, breaking the rules, questionable calls in their favor all the time, favorable scheduling year in and year out. It’s almost like the Goodell wants them to win. And just to point out all the times the Patriots were caught cheating wasn’t by Goodell but by other teams.

    ==============================

    Yea playing a first place out of division schedule just about every single year is real advantage. And they have the best record in the NFL in the Brady era against playoff teams. Research helps.

  17. “Please cite specifics of how the Patriots obtain favorable scheduling year in and year out.”

    Easy – look how often their first playoff game is at home!

  18. Wasn’t Shefter the same guy who outed confidential information about the NY Giants Linebacker who injured his hand?

    Just wrong – These things are confidential for a reason.

  19. Hey there is so much crapola in the food we eat these days we probably all would fail?
    However, why would any of these guys nowadays take a dam thing that isnt your normal daily food and drink, without asking.
    You cant just walk into your health store and have a guy with a hs diploma swear that substance is as pure as wheat on the stalk. No one is buying that anymore.

  20. Ted Wells ought to be able to handle this. Step 1: Determine the desired outcome for the league. Step 2: Reverse engineer facts to corroborate chosen outcome. Step 3: Spend ungodly sums of money defending fraudulent proceedings. Step 4: Rinse and repeat ad nausea.

    There is no way the NFL will allow this to end well for Edelman regardless of the facts. The NFL messed up, but they have a clear track record of going scorched earth policy to defend their mistakes.

    Viewed in it’s entirety, has there ever been an organization with a built in monopoly like this that ever inflicted so many wounds on itself?

  21. Bandwagon nation still refuses to understand or is not not smart enough to understand. The preliminary test simply shows that SOMETHING red flagged. Now they dig even deeper to identify it.

  22. ” the NFL and NFLPA never do anything when it comes to breaches of the confidentiality provision. Even when a player is clearly victimized by the breach,”

    Another reason why players have to get all they can, while they can.

  23. Please cite specifics of how the Patriots obtain favorable scheduling year in and year out.
    ======

    6 games against the AFC Least

    Bills – 0 Playoff wins this century
    Dolphins – 1 Playoff wins this century.. all the way back in 2001
    Jets – 6 Playoff wins this century… none since 2010

    Worst division in the NFL

  24. kamthechancellor says:

    June 11, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    That little dude is jacked…I’m 100% positive (just like his test) he’s juicing. No doubt.
    ———————————————————————————–
    Unlike Richard Sherman, who actually tested positive for a PED and got off because of chain of custody issues, the point of what is happening is that they don’t even know what was in his system. Neither case should have been leaked.

  25. “This is a medical issue so they, the nfl, is in violation of HIPPA and should be held responsible. ”

    ——————————————–

    It’s HIPAA (one P, two A’s) by the way. And I don’t believe it’s not a HIPAA violation. It depends who leaked it, which might be hard to prove. If the lab leaked it then yes, it’s a violation, if it’s the NFL then it’s not since it could technically fall under employment records, not health records.

  26. Please cite specifics of how the Patriots obtain favorable scheduling year in and year out.
    ======

    6 games against the AFC Least

    Bills – 0 Playoff wins this century
    Dolphins – 1 Playoff wins this century.. all the way back in 2001
    Jets – 6 Playoff wins this century… none since 2010

    Worst division in the NFL

    Please explain how the Patriots prevent the other teams in its division from improving the player personnel, scouts, and coaching staffs of their teams!

  27. Let’s face it, Unions are no longer needed in this country…
    ======

    Right. Because who needs organizations that would fight for higher pay, better benefits and workers rights, fair treatment and on the job safety?

  28. Bandwagon nation still refuses to understand or is not not smart enough to understand. The preliminary test simply shows that SOMETHING red flagged. Now they dig even deeper to identify it.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

    The irony of someone talking about the intelligence levels of others while using a double negative is hilarious.

  29. wryly1 says:
    June 11, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    By contractual agreement with the NFLPA, all players are subject, at any time, to be tested for substance abuse and PED’s.
    ____________________________________________________

    That is just not true and promulgating it shows you haven’t even glanced at the ‘contractual agreement’ you are referencing.

  30. .
    @orgy /Aaron

    By your logic the fault for the Browns 1-35 record over the past two seasons lies solely with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    .

  31. I’m all for players taking PEDs. Football players are already gambling on their long term health, if they want to gamble a little more by taking some drugs then why not let them?

  32. Please explain how the Patriots prevent the other teams in its division from improving the player personnel, scouts, and coaching staffs of their teams!
    ======

    Right after you explain how being spotted 4-6 wins isn’t an advantage.

    That’s the difference between being the 6 seed or the 1 seed.

  33. Thank you for the enlightenment Mike, appreciate it. Agree with you completely, should never have come out for an “unknown” drug? I mean what if it just one of those magic elixirs from Brady’s guru that does not have anything in violation in it. If that’s the case the NFL needs to get a new testing lab that is able to identify down to the molecular level and be able to figure it out rather than not knowing at all, and getting it publicized. Think its more an NFL black eye now.

  34. megnailsit says:
    June 11, 2018 at 3:54 pm
    “Easy – look how often their first playoff game is at home!”
    —————————————————————

    Probably the dumbest statement this year.

  35. Let’s face it, Unions are no longer needed in this country…
    ——-
    I don’t know….this one is pretty dumb too.

  36. This would only be an issue made by the nflpa if Edelman was black. The D Smith might come to the rescue in his defense. Otherwise he just sits on his arse collecting a fat check and make appearances from time to time like a puppet.

    I have no clue if he’d really come to the defense of a black player either. He’s a fat lazy piece of crap who is taking the players like a fool. Yet they keep voting him in.

    If Edelman does fail the test he should be punished according to the bylaws of said failed test. But if I’m him, I’m asking why my union leader isn’t backing me up

  37. mybigthirdleg says:

    June 11, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Let’s face it, Unions are no longer needed in this country…much less unions for professional sports. The players (if they had any brains) can negotiate great deals since they have so much leverage…unions are just useless. They are for others to get rich while providing nothing. No, wait…the UAW and other labor unions are good at keeping people that use drugs, so they don’t get fired like they should. They also love giving money to the democrat party…just a money laundering scheme actually.

    ——————————————

    Stop turning football into politics. The NFLPA has NOTHING to do with the Democrats and Julian Edelman’s pending suspension has NOTHING to do with Republicans.

  38. exhelodrvr says:
    June 11, 2018 at 3:15 pm
    “Please cite specifics of how the Patriots obtain favorable scheduling year in and year out.”

    Easy – look how often their first playoff game is at home!
    ———————–

    You should probably smash your keyboard before you type anything else. Go ahead and read all you want but it’s in your own best interest to never type again.

    Just… wow!

  39. The NFL is terrible with leaks. Look at MLB, and Robinson Canoe which had been challenged and was ongoing for months and the only reason the public found out about it was he dropped his protest and accepted the penalty.

    If this was the NFL fans would be hammering him all season which is what will happen to Edelman as this has no timeline of resolution.

    That being said “unidentified substance” usually means something new that the testers don’t even know is a new steroid yet. Or…. it’s just something totally harmless And random … but guilty till proven innocent after the leak.

  40. There’s a potential outcome that could make this even more awkward for the league: it’s entirely possible for someone to fail a drugs test because of health issues they may not even know about. In the same way that testicular cancer can cause a false positive if a man pees on a pregnancy test due to the abnormal chemicals created by the presence of a tumor that can be present in the urine, multiple cancers, diabetes and other illnesses – many of them serious and life-changing can show up as false positives in PED tests, even before any symptoms show up. If that’s the case, the leak would compel Edelman to release medical information that he should have the right to keep confidential in order to clear his name.

    I hope that doesn’t come to pass. I hope the substance is identified and is not prohibited, as a Pats fan and an Edelman fan. But I’d rather him have taken PEDs than have to go through that.

  41. palsgraf21 says:
    June 11, 2018 at 2:21 pm
    I always wonder about leaks and unnamed sources in sports articles. What incentive does the average insider have to feed Adam Schefter or other reporters info? The leakers could lose their jobs. Do the reporters pay them?

    ————————
    Honestly I dont think the leaks are accidental. I think the NFL uses them deliberately as a means to control public opinion. And look how the public laps them up? Its effective.

  42. Right after you explain how being spotted 4-6 wins isn’t an advantage.

    That’s the difference between being the 6 seed or the 1 seed.
    ———-

    You’re mad at the wrong team. They have to play the Bills, Jets, and Dolphins. That’s not going to change

    The fact those teams aren’t any good isn’t the Pats fault. You should be mad at the other teams for fielding crappy squads!

    But no, you make it like the schedule makers are doing this on purpose because it’s easier for you to say the Pats are being handed this by the league.

  43. footballpat says:
    June 11, 2018 at 4:52 pm
    megnailsit says:
    June 11, 2018 at 3:54 pm
    “Easy – look how often their first playoff game is at home!”
    —————————————————————

    Probably the dumbest statement this year.

    —————————
    OMG thats funny.

    Yeah, ok. Lets look at how many times all their playoff games are at home. Cooincidence? I think not!

  44. A word of wisdom for my fellow Patriot fans, when a hater talks about the league giving the Pats a easy schedule, just move on.
    The hater in question is obviously an absolute sub-moronic ignorant and doesn’t deserve your attention. And your comment to him will go trough one ear and out the other, because the complexity of NFL schedule-making is wayyy to complex to grasp for such a loser.

  45. The Patriots schedule is easy by virtue of the fact that they play the jets, Miami and the bills.

    It’s not there fault there division is awful.

    And there non divisional scheduled games are equally as hard for them as they are for the rest of their division.

  46. Let’s face it, Unions are no longer needed in this country…
    ——-
    I don’t know….this one is pretty dumb too.

    They would be gone already if not for government. Good idea in 1890, maybe not so much now.

  47. aarons444 says:
    June 11, 2018 at 4:18 pm
    Please explain how the Patriots prevent the other teams in its division from improving the player personnel, scouts, and coaching staffs of their teams!
    ======

    Right after you explain how being spotted 4-6 wins isn’t an advantage.

    That’s the difference between being the 6 seed or the 1 seed.
    —————————-
    I disagree on you saying they are ‘spotted’. The Bills, Jets and Dolphins may live in the Patriots shadow but they beat plenty enough teams in other divisions so that the AFC East has the third highest winning % in the NFL.

    And the difference you describe means you are assuming they beat all of their non AFC East opponents, which does tend to be the case.

  48. aarons444 says:
    June 11, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Right after you explain how being spotted 4-6 wins isn’t an advantage.

    That’s the difference between being the 6 seed or the 1 seed.
    __________________________________________________

    In the last 15 years division winners average 1.5 in division losses, New England has averaged 1.7. In short, the Pats actually get slightly fewer division wins on average than most division winners. They’ve only swept their division twice in the Brady/Belichick era. The way out of a hole isn’t to keep digging, your division argument gets weaker with every post

  49. Anyone else notice how “freedom of speech” keeps biting Goodell’s backside? If you tolerate inappropriate “freedom of speech” like kneeling during the Anthem you plant the seed of BS reasoning which is going to keep growing weeds in your garden.

  50. neatpete1 says:
    June 11, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Yeah, ok. Lets look at how many times all their playoff games are at home. Cooincidence? I think not!
    _______________________________________________

    Nothing schedule or coincidence related about a .774 win % in the Brady/Belichick era. Just sustained excellence that no amount of trolling can stop.

  51. Tortellini genie says:
    June 11, 2018 at 6:10 pm
    palsgraf21 says:
    June 11, 2018 at 2:21 pm
    I always wonder about leaks and unnamed sources in sports articles. What incentive does the average insider have to feed Adam Schefter or other reporters info? The leakers could lose their jobs. Do the reporters pay them?

    ————————
    Honestly I dont think the leaks are accidental. I think the NFL uses them deliberately as a means to control public opinion. And look how the public laps them up? Its effective.

    ———————————
    I think they do this too. And if they suspended Edelman then realized they had a mistake on their hands their first move will to be to get out in front of it to hijack public opinion by leaaking a report that he was on something like happened here. Then they can silence up the rest (because they can ‘not leak’ when they want to and goodell likes sealing records) leaving the public none the wiser. If the test was a false positive Edelman can certainly take it to coyrt and get things unsealed. But frankly thats not good use of his money because even if the court declared him innocent the league can then appeal that they can suspend him anyways because of the CBA and Edelman will lose that. Sadly, his best course of action is to just keep his money, do his four games, and move on with his life.

  52. @aarons etc, Brady-era Pats record outside their own div is slightly better than within it. Plus look at Brady-era v Steelers. Many see the Steelers as not just the cream of the AFCN but also the 2nd-best AFC team over the same era with SB success of their own, yet Brady-Pats record against the Steelers is 11-2 (inc 3-0 playoffs), which is much softer than Brady-Pats 21-10 record v Dolphins and 24-8 v Jets.

  53. 7067 says:
    June 11, 2018 at 6:32 pm
    The Patriots schedule is easy by virtue of the fact that they play the jets, Miami and the bills.

    It’s not there fault there division is awful.

    And there non divisional scheduled games are equally as hard for them as they are for the rest of their division.

    ————–

    And yet unlike the team in the cream-puff AFC North the Dolphins and Jets actually beat the Pats most seasons. When was the last time an AFC North team beat the Pats?

  54. It is very clear: Rasputin aka Guerrero is running a roid mill in Foxboro. The players have fallen under his spell, mesmerized by his “innovative” approach to defeating the physical problems associated with age.

    Belichick knows it, but like Czar Nicholas has been powerless to stop it. Edelman was the first domino to fall, and now the NFL smells blood.

    What happens when Gronk tests positive? Better yet, what happens when Sir Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr, tests positive???

  55. i would guess that jules took something to heal up quicker and good for him doing it; it’s his job to play and pats do their job. but on the outside chance it is not a banned substance, oh what fun we’ll have! hope he lawyers up and gets a fat check out of someone’s hide.

  56. I am not a Patriots fan ..but please stop. The fact that a
    player from any particular team tests positive for a banned
    substance has not relation to the organization. In fact ..
    you alleged knowledgeable fans …if they team was involved
    do you think the player might have a better chance of not being
    caught. Believe me the tests are random with no pattern.
    Finally can you Patriots haters just get over it. They have an
    outstanding QB and an outstanding coach. That’s why they win.
    I have been a Steeler fan for my life. I can guarantee you that Bill
    Cowher has no problem with Bill Belichick and in fact respects him.
    Every team seeks an advantage.Do fans really believe that the Patriots invented
    stealing signs? Why do offensive coordinators still hide their mouths when
    calling in plays? Hmm maybe teams are still trying to read their lips to
    get an advantage. Get over it Patriot haters …as much as I hate to admit
    they have a great QB and perhaps the best coach of all time. Certainly Belichick
    May be the hardest working Coach of all time.

  57. Packers fan weighing in here… The author is correct. Edelman is going to be painted as a cheater no matter what happens, which is a disservice to the player, the organization, the fans, and the NFL.

    FWIW, I bet Edelman is exhonorated. He doesnt strike me as the PED type. I mean LOOK at him.

  58. mybigthirdleg says:
    June 11, 2018 at 2:12 pm
    Let’s face it, Unions are no longer needed in this country…much less unions for professional sports. The players (if they had any brains) can negotiate great deals since they have so much leverage…unions are just useless.

    —————————————————————————–

    I disagree. Unions help build a strong middle class. Without a strong middle class there is no democracy. Corporate greed is out of control in this country.

  59. I’m a Bills fan but blaming the schedule for the Pats winning is ridiculous. The Colts has a fairly easy Texans, Jags and usually bad Titans during Peyton’s career and that got him one super bowl. Plus the Steelers have had the hapless Browns for a decade. The Jets, Bills, Fins obviously haven’t been great but also not terrible like some other AFC teams. They always seem to be in the 7-9 win area which isn’t guaranteed wins for the Pats and we are beating other AFC teams to get those wins every year.

    Not to mention the only strength of schedule the NFL uses is having the division winner play the previous years other division winners and so the Pats always have to play the best of the rest of the AFC and that hasn’t been much of an issue for them.

    So I’m just waiting for that eventual day when Brady and Belichek are gone (hopefully sometime soon but I thought that 5 years ago) and we can get back to the 80s and 90s when the Pats and Colts were the layups of the AFC East (back then). Overall my point is the schedule is a formula and can’t be cheated and the AFC East hasn’t been as crappy (although not great) as you are stating without actually looking at the stats.

    Bills and Fins only one season below 6 wins since 2006 and the Jets have had 3 (all recent including 5 wins the last 2 years) but offset that with a few seasons over 10 wins too.

  60. Just let every player who’s case has leaked details get off free from punishment…then the NFL will quickly resolve these leaks.

  61. Just flummoxed by the NFL’s decision making process. They can’t ID the substance, but are going to issue a PED suspension?

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