Game Day Drug Testing for NFL Players

Posted: August 10, 2011 in Robert J. Romano

As a result of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement reached between the NFL and the players, the NFL has enacted procedures for this upcoming season to drug test players on game day for performance enhancing drugs.  (However, recreational drugs use by the players will not be tested.)

The league’s senior vice president of law and labor policy, Adolpho Birch, who oversees the NFL’s drug program, stated that the league has developed ways to test players that are “not overly disruptive to the clubs and that respects the game-day process.”

“The key to this testing is the randomness of it, and that every player is subject to and eligible for testing on a year-round basis, with no notice,” Birch said.

“I would certainly expect players will be tested in an amount that will be meaningful. But more important, the idea is not so much the number of tests performed, but it is the constant threat of testing that provides the key to deterrence under this particular program,” Birch said.

The question is – why do the test need to be done on game day?  If the test is taken the morning before a game, will the results be in before game time?  If not, what is the point of taking such test on game day?  If the answer is yes and the results will be in, will the player be banned from playing in the game?  And if he is banned for that day’s game – what, if any appeal process is in place?

Game day testing – why did the Union agree to this process since it doesn’t protect the players at all.  Additionally, does a coach really want the NFL testing players at such time – when everyone knows that a players head needs to be “in the game” and not thinking about such issues.

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