New CBA removes all substance-abuse suspensions for positive drug tests

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If at least 50 percent plus one of the dues-paying members of the NFL Players Association vote in favor of the proposed CBA, no player will be suspended during the next decade for testing positive for marijuana or any other substance of abuse.

The 2020 substance-abuse policy, a link to which has been distributed to all players eligible to vote via email from NFLPA general counsel Tom DePaso, removes all suspensions for positive tests. Instead, players will be subject to fines only for a positive drug test.

Players in stage one of the program who test positive face no penalty at all, other than being advanced to stage two. In stage two, positive tests result only in fines.

For the first violation, the player loses one half of a game check. For the second violation, he loses a week’s pay. For the third violation, it’s two weeks’ salary. For the fourth and all subsequent violations, it’s a three-game fine. While that can get expensive, the player will still be allowed to play.

Suspensions under the new CBA arise only from a failure to cooperate with testing or clinical care while in stage two, and a suspension happens only at the fourth violation (three games). The fifth violation results in a four-game suspension, the sixth violation triggers an eight-game suspension, and the seventh violation leads to banishment for at least a year.

Stage three of the substance-abuse program has been removed from the new CBA.

While the harshest penalty of a minimum banishment of at least one year still exists under the new CBA, a player who fails to cooperate with testing or clinical care seven different times arguably doesn’t want to remain in the league. Players who cooperate with testing and their clinical programs will never be banished. Indeed, they’ll never even be suspended, no matter how many times they test positive.

49 responses to “New CBA removes all substance-abuse suspensions for positive drug tests

  1. The nfl will do anything for more money will it ever be enough ! it’s sad what’s happen to a once great game !

  2. To be clear, guys can/will still be suspended for any violations of the law related to these substances (ie. DUI, Possession, crossing the border with a trunk full of cocaine).

    I’m fine with relaxing the restrictions on marijuana, but I’m a little concerned about the opioids. Pain management is a big issue and it’s really easy for someone to load up on Oxy when it’s the only think that makes walking bearable the day after a game.

  3. So this is what they get for 17 games. That’s a hard bargain, should be interesting to see what happens. Are teams required to disclose publicly who fails?

  4. As long as they don’t smoke weed on game days, they should be able to smoke it and not get fined or suspended if it’s legal in the state they live in.

  5. The NFL needs to get out of the law enforcement business. Test for steroids/HGH etc, leave the rest alone. If someone’s drug use is problematic, it will cause problems beyond failing a test. Then you can take action, when it is an actual problem. Stop with the dog-and-pony show pretending to care about some vague notion of morality

  6. xbam says:
    March 5, 2020 at 11:11 am
    why bother testing then??
    —————-
    Fines. Roger loves him some fine money.

  7. Goodell are you serious? Money means nothing to many players evidenced by so many going broke. This is a disaster for player contracts which will now be modified to be null and void if a player is on drugs. The gambling community will be outraged as they bet on teams/players who are not high and those that are can effect winning performances. Unbelievable!

  8. Is there any change to how often testing occurs? If it is just the one time mandatory in the spring there will not be much fine money coming in……..

  9. As an amateur triathlete, I can get a 2 year ban for drugs I’ve never even heard of on the first offense and I do if for fun. So much for the NFL being a clean sport. HGH, opioids, recreational drugs, etc will run rampant since there will be almost no consequences. Ridiculous!

  10. So, guys who get high can now do so but will forfeit their pay and still be able to play? Man, maybe some of those guys who equated their lives as NFL players to slaves weren’t so wrong after all? I’m getting my popcorn ready for the 1st time this happens, it’s going to be so fun to watch!

  11. Angel Valle says:
    The nfl will do anything for more money will it ever be enough ! it’s sad what’s happen to a once great game !
    ******************
    It’s the Players Union pushing the agenda for more money. The NFL is working to find a way to increase the revenue so the players can make more money. Don’t blame the owners 100%.
    It goes both ways ya know.

  12. For those that aren’t aware, this is a near copy of the NBA’s drug policy. The NBA doesn’t care about weed, but will punish for nearly any other illegal drug (coke, heroin, meth, etc). This new NFL policy goes even further by stating “no player will be suspended during the next decade for testing positive for marijuana or any other substance of abuse.”

  13. jbholcom says:
    March 5, 2020 at 12:20 pm
    As an amateur triathlete, I can get a 2 year ban for drugs I’ve never even heard of on the first offense and I do if for fun. So much for the NFL being a clean sport. HGH, opioids, recreational drugs, etc will run rampant since there will be almost no consequences. Ridiculous!

    ———-‐————————————
    The new policy only applies to “…Marijuana or any other substance of abuse”. That doesn’t include HGH and other steroids that are considered “performance enhancing drugs”. Players can still be suspended and banned for those.

  14. So I take it “any other substance of abuse” includes coke, heroin, meth, pain pills, etc? That is sure a drastic switch.

  15. Players are idiots if they do not take this CBA. The NFL is bending over backwards for a 17th game.

  16. jbholcom says:
    March 5, 2020 at 12:20 pm
    As an amateur triathlete, I can get a 2 year ban for drugs I’ve never even heard of on the first offense and I do if for fun. So much for the NFL being a clean sport. HGH, opioids, recreational drugs, etc will run rampant since there will be almost no consequences. Ridiculous!

    Are you a moron? Seriously…please answer. This is for marijauna only.

    NFL will suspend players for HGH, roids.

  17. People who think no NFL player is doing ice on game day is kidding themself. Best performance enhancing drug out there. Same in the NBA and MLB and NHL too. These guys aren’t stupid, they know what’s what. And I am not saying everyone’s doing it. But to deny it’s there is foolish, it’s just too good and tempting.

  18. cjmcfootball says:
    March 5, 2020 at 10:03 am
    To be clear, guys can/will still be suspended for any violations of the law related to these substances (ie. DUI, Possession, crossing the border with a trunk full of cocaine).

    I’m fine with relaxing the restrictions on marijuana, but I’m a little concerned about the opioids. Pain management is a big issue and it’s really easy for someone to load up on Oxy when it’s the only think that makes walking bearable the day after a game.

    ————-

    The opioids are being shoved down players’ throats by team doctors. And unlike weed (for the most part) or coke they’re prescription drugs that players may have a legitimate reason to have in their system. This new policy isn’t going to have any effect on opioids – unless players start taking them LESS often since they can now smoke weed as an alternative.

    As for everyone else, if you’re whining about steroids and HGH, you’re dumb. Performance enhancing drugs will still be punished.

  19. I hope the salary based fines include bonus money. If not you will see more player signings for large bonuses and small salaries… why risk a weeks pay of your real salary.

  20. So, what about Ritalin or fertility drugs, since I think those are considered performance enhancing? Seems a little ridiculous they could snort coke, but not try to have a baby.

  21. Imho, drug counseling and or therapy should be made available to the players as well. Drug abuse and addiction is a medical issue, not a moral one. If a player is on a downward spiral maybe an available helping hand might help. We can all clutch our pearls and denigrate someone who has succumbed to addiction but you have not walked in their shoes so you have no right to judge someone who has fallen.

  22. Excellent! Nothing like a little Blow to get you up for the game!
    That’ll be a $100 fine Mr. Gordon

  23. So drugs are extremely important to the players. Marijuana in my opinion is fine. Do it, I don’t care. But Coke and Opioids is a dangerous path to walk down. Now they think it’s okay to do it. Many of these players lives will end badly. Even worse than the current situation of former players losing it all.

  24. I would have liked this if it was only marijuana, I’m all for that. But why include all other substances, dudes are gonna start mis-using pills and other drugs. Makes no sense for the sudden about face on ALL drugs, like what else you want these guys to be using lol.

  25. Now that gambling is legal on football.. Im really not concerned about players playing worse cause of drugs. They clearly take the drugs recreationaly AND to cope with pain but they do play VERY hard to win BECAUSE the monetary incentives/bonuses etc are great

    *BUT if as guy has to play in a game he is NOT PAID for – yet he could place a bet on the game.. well THAT might be a problem.

  26. Bring back Daryl Washington! Randy Gregory come on down! Josh Gordon come on down! Justin Blackmon come on down! Lane Johnson come on down! Aldon Smith come on down!

  27. So all drugs? Heroin? Cocaine? Meth? Adderal? All bets are off? With just fines? Idiotic. How about making it a condition of employment? What is so wrong about that? Oh that’s right, unless you support marijuana usage, you just are not woke enough.

  28. Angel Valle says:
    March 5, 2020 at 10:00 am
    The nfl will do anything for more money will it ever be enough ! it’s sad what’s happen to a once great game !
    ++++
    Well, in the real world, if you have a job in which you’re tested, and come up positive, it’s usually automatic termination. Not in pro sports though. It has nothing to do with the NFL wanting more money. The money is already allotted for, and spent, by the owners. It’s the players choosing to give it away.

  29. MJ I get as a number of states have decriminalized but the hard stuff? Is this just a negotiating point to get the 17 games?

  30. I assume individual player contracts could still include penalties and suspensions for drug use. Or does the CBA ban this? As an owner I am paying for a product. How do they get protected by this? I guess they really don’t care about their players.

  31. So this is what they get for 17 games. That’s a hard bargain, should be interesting to see what happens. Are teams required to disclose publicly who fails?

    Of course not. But would you even care if a player did?

  32. Load up on the Adderall, boys! Don’t forget that halftime meth hit! And coke…hell yeah!

    Wow. Those disadvantaged owners must REALLY want that 17th game (because they know it will make getting the 18th a piece of cake in a few years).

  33. I wonder if this would sway Gronk to come back, since he can freely use his CBD stuff which he really pushed for.

  34. fans need to have a bargaining agreement.
    We want lower prices, better refs, drug free players, and fewer commercials.
    Kinda reminds me how things used to be when I fell in love with this sport.

  35. Let’s not forget, the owners want this. Now if they have a Josh Gordon-type guy, they don’t lose him for multiple games a year.

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