The Al Jazeera investigation into abuse of performance enhancing drugs by athletes may have a prolonged impact on the NFL.
The league officially announced they would suspend four players for their lack of cooperation in the Al Jazeera report naming them as clients for a PED supplier.
James Harrison, Clay Matthews, Mike Neal, and Julius Peppers were notified they would be suspended if they don’t conduct an interview by Thursday, August 25 with the league. The notice came after all four failed to give interviews regarding the topic after repeated attempts.
While cursory statements were released by players in an effort to appease the league, The Shield wasn’t having it, per their statement:
We cannot accept your unilateral assertion that the cursory, untested statements you have submitted satisfy the players’ obligation. Accordingly, the Commissioner has directed that Messrs. Harrison, Matthews, Neal and Peppers be given until Thursday, August 25 to provide interviews. For those players whose interviews do not take place on or before that date, or who fail meaningfully to participate in or otherwise obstruct the interview, their actions will constitute conduct detrimental and they will be suspended, separate and apart from any possible future determination that they violated the steroid policy. The suspension for each such player will begin on Friday, August 26 and will continue until he has fully participated in an interview with league investigators, after which the Commissioner will determine whether and when the suspension should be lifted.
Elsewhere, Harrison stated in June that the only way he would participate in an interview was if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell showed up to his house for it.
The NFL did not answer Harrison’s request and a signed affidavit from him did not appease them.
When asked about matters on Monday, Harrison stated that it was a done deal in his eyes. Not exactly.
Meanwhile, Peyton Manning, another party named in the Al Jazeera investigation, was interviewed by the NFL a few months back. The league did not find substantial evidence against Manning over his involvement in the PED scandal.
If the NFL ends up suspending these four, I’m guessing either this will end up in court or we’re on a slow burn to another lockout when the collective bargaining agreement ends after the 2020 season…or both.