Violations of PED policy require more transparency

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The DeAndre Hopkins situation is a symptom of a deeper problem. And the problem comes from the inability of the NFL and NFL Players Association to infuse public confidence into the PED policy by sharing more details regarding the circumstances surrounding a positive test and ensuing suspension.

As it stands, the league announces the consequences of a positive test — a six-game suspension for a first offense. The league provides no further details.

The NFL and NFLPA are authorized to disclose more information “to maintain confidence in the credibility of the Policy and Policy Personnel or to correct inaccurate public claims made by that Player or his representatives about the operation of the Policy, discipline, underlying facts or appeals process.” But that apparently doesn’t stop a player like Hopkins (or mostly every other player who ever has tested positive) from claiming that he did not intentionally violate the policy and/or that the positive test resulted from a spiked supplement.

In situations like that, the league and the union should at least be able to issue a clear and unequivocal reminder that players are responsible for whatever is in their system, and that the NFL and NFLPA jointly approve supplements that are clean. It also would be useful to disclose the substance ingested and the amount detected.

As it stands, players can launch a P.R. campaign that is unrebutted as long as it doesn’t include accurate claims. If neither the league nor the union know how a player ended up ingesting a banned substances, the NFL and NFLPA need to do something to counter the predictable claim that the player who tests positive didn’t knowingly ingest a PED.

Maybe nothing the NFL and/or NFLPA can say will disprove that claim. Maybe the league and union need to agree that such claims simply won’t be made. Regardless, it’s far too easy for any and every player who tests positive to huff and puff and promise to blow down the house of whoever slipped him a PED mickey. Such claims undermine the entire PED policy, creating the impression that the system ensnares players who didn’t deliberately cheat — and thus never catches those who do.

10 responses to “Violations of PED policy require more transparency

  1. How about when players are suspended, they are ineligible to play in the playoffs that season like baseball players are?

  2. Given the money involved, players will do what it takes to play and make the next contract. Honestly, if I had the ability, I might have done the same. Unfortunatly long term health concerns are not primary. (Steve Furness and Walt Sweeney). The NFL policy needs to have bigger teath. The penalty is not a sufficent deterrent.

  3. That would violate the law unless the individual who failed the test agreed to release it. Nothing the NFL or Union can do to change that. No one is out there asking for it except you. Funny how now Hopkins already dropped His appeal. He knows dam well what He did.

  4. In business, when we fire or discipline employees, we don’t provide details around this. If someone is moved out of a role – temporarily or permanently, the only message that may be sent is who to contact instead of the unavailable employee (or former employee). Can the employee spin a tail that is removed from reality? Sure, but frankly who cares? There is no need to continue to fight a battle that has already been won.

    If people who were suspended for peds want to feign ignorance, does it really matter? They are being punished for their actions. Isn’t that all that matters?

  5. If the NFL and the NFLPA agrees to it that is good enough for me. I don’t have to know anything more.

  6. Isn’t avoiding responsibility one of the main reasons the NFLPA exists ?

  7. Why does it matter if a player knows or not what is in the garbage they take? They are adults and are bound by professional responsibility to know everything about their development – chemical and physical. If they are caught using a banned substance, they really should be banned for a year for being lazy and to clean their system. That would be their only ban. A next time is their permanent ban. PED’s are harmful to the user and are highly unethical and improper in a sport where the difference between great and good is so slim. This is cheating – and if it was unintentional, then you have laziness and unprofessional conduct that makes the player unworthy of a professional sport.

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