NFL Squashed Drug Penalties 

  NFL Squashed Drug Penalties 

Posted by FoM on August 31, 1999 at 08:04:36 PT
By Mike Mulligan, Staff Reporter 
Source: Chicago Sun-Times 

The NFL downplayed Monday's news of a secret agreement between the league and the players association to overlook some positive drug tests as part of negotiations on a new drug program in 1995.
The agreement was revealed by the New York Times after the newspaper acquired nearly 40 hours of videotape from the union's 1995 annual meeting in Hawaii. The union had hired a company to film the meeting with the idea of distributing the tapes to players.But the company eventually sued over a payment dispute, and the players association never got control of the tapes, which recently were given to the newspaper.The tapes reportedly show Doug Allen, the union's assistant executive director, discussing differences between the new drug policy and the old one. Allen reportedly reveals that a number of players failed drug tests but would not be suspended because of an agreement between the league and the players association.An NFL source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press that some drug offenses were forgiven before contract negotiations began in 1993 to get the union to accede to league demands for a stronger drug policy.The NFL released a statement confirming that the league and the players association agreed to negotiate a collectively bargained drug policy in 1993 and asserting that, when adopted in 1995, it resulted in a considerably stronger program."While the new program was being negotiated, there were 16 players whose discipline under the old program was deferred pending completions of the negotiations," the statement said. "In 1995 all 16 players were slotted into the new program, tested regularly, treated by professional counselors and physicians and subject to suspension upon any further violations."This was done to allow those players to take advantage of the new program's mandatory counseling and treatment provisions. These mandatory aspects of the new program were not part of the old program. The 1995 program is the most comprehensive in professional sports."The New York Times story did not identify any of the 16 players, only one of whom reportedly is still in the league. The league also declined to reveal whether any of the players were former Bears, citing the confidentiality of the drug program.The Bears declined to comment, referring all questions to the NFL.The Bears have been touched by drug allegations twice in the last five years. Former running back Rashaan Salaam recently said his failures with the team were because of his marijuana use.That followed an August 1995 TV report in which former Bears safety Maurice Douglass talked about a wild night on the town that March when he and several teammates smoked three or four marijuana joints while taking a limousine ride to area nightclubs.Douglass said one player became so high that Douglass feared he had "passed away," and the incident led him to become a born-again Christian. Douglass said at the time there was no widespread drug use on the Bears.Former Bears coach Dave Wannstedt said last week that he never suspected any drug abuse on Salaam's part and felt the two incidents were unrelated.Former Bears receiver Jeff Graham, who was on the team at the time Salaam says he experimented with drugs, said the running back showed no signs of a drug problem to his teammates."I had no idea," Graham said. "And we were out together, too. I don't know where that came from, but I never saw any of that."August 31, 1999Copyright © The Sun-Times Company

Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

  Post Comment

Name:       Optional Password: 
Comment:   [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]

Link URL: 
Link Title: