NFL Players Approve New Drug Testing Policies

The National Football League Players Association approved a sweeping change to the league’s drug policy on Friday evening. The new policy includes HGH testing and a higher threshold for testing positive for marijuana as well as a decriminalization of the recreational drug.  

Here is part of the NFLPA statement on the policy changes. 

NEUTRAL ARBITRATION: An Independent Arbitrator will hear appeals for positive test violations of both Substances of Abuse and Performance Enhancing Drug Policies. The NFL and NFLPA will jointly select, approve and pay for retention of 3-5 arbitrators.

AMENDING MARIJUANA POLICIES: The threshold for a positive test for marijuana will increase to 35 ng/ml from the previous limit of 15 ng/ml. There will be additional steps for players who test positive for the substance before suspension.

RETROACTIVITY: Discipline of players for certain violations in the 2014 League Year will have their discipline adjusted by certain aspects of the new policies.

DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE: Players successfully rejected the league’s proposal to issue discipline upon arrest, prior to adjudication. A two-game suspension will be issued upon conviction or plea agreement for violations of law involving alcohol and driving.

AMPHETAMINES: During the off-season, a first time positive test for amphetamines without a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) will now be evaluated under the Substances of Abuse Policy. During the season, a positive test without a TUE will continue to be a violation of the Performance Enhancing Drug Policy.

HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE TESTING:Testing for hGH will occur in the 2014 season. Players have the right to challenge any aspect of the science of the hGH isoforms test. The collection of blood specimens is prohibited on game days.

DISCIPLINE FOR BREACHES OF CONFIDENTIALITY: The NFL and NFLPA will have the right to retain independent investigators to review cases where player confidentiality as related to the drug policies has been breached. Employees of the

NFL/NFLPA/Clubs, players, certified contract advisors (agents) and policy administrators found to be in violation will face fines up to $500,000 and/or termination or other discipline.

As previously reported, Josh Gordon is now looking at a total of a 10 game suspension.

Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker passed his concussion tests and is now able to suit up and play on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. The same goes for Dallas Cowboys defensive back Orlando Scandrick. This policy change, which is being employed retroactively, will impact over a dozen players who have been suspended during the 2014 NFL league year.

Photo: USA Today