While NFL players like Josh Gordon and Will Hill are currently facing suspensions for violating the regulations of the leagues’ current drug policy, there is speculation that a new set of rules have been drafted aimed at stripping away the punishments for failed marijuana tests.
Earlier this week, sources told ESPN that the renegotiation of the NFL’s drug policy, which has been under debate for the past three years, is on the brink of emerging with a modern day approach to substance abuse issues. For starters, the NFL Players’ Association (NFLPA) wants to show more leniencies to players that use marijuana by reducing the penalties for those who test positive for the drug.
However, while sources say the league has agreed to increase the threshold for a failed marijuana test to a higher level than what is currently permitted, there appears to be a larger issue standing in the way of the renegotiation, specifically dealing with the inclusion of testing for human growth hormone (HGH).
The problem lies in the arbitration of discipline, in which the NFL wants the commissioner to have final approval on all matters related to the discipline of players, while the NFLPA wants to incorporate an independent arbitration system for drug-related offenses.
“He wants to hold all the cards and he wants to be the judge, jury and executioner, and we’re not going to go for an un-American system like that,” union president Eric Winston said in a statement on ESPN.com regarding commissioner Roger Goodell.
Yet, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told ESPN last week that the union is holding up progress trying to avoid HGH testing.
“It’s kind of funny because since 2011 the union has come up with one excuse after another to avoid implementing an agreement to test for HGH. First, it was the testing method; then it was the population study; now it’s commissioner authority. Our commitment to testing is clear. The same cannot be said of the union.”
Sources indicate that once the two parties have reached an agreement on how disciplinary action will be handled, the NFL will implement its new drug policy, which is said to have undergone an extensive overhaul in comparison to the current rules.
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