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NFL and NFLPA Close on New Drug Policy Proposals

It appears the NFL and the NFLPA are close on putting new drug policy proposals to a vote, including HGH testing.

Ronald Martinez

Reported first by Albert Breer on AROUND THE NFL. Among the proposals are:

1. A higher threshold on marijuana tests. Due to the potency of today's marijuana, a person can test positive just by associating with a pot user. This would bring the standards in line with general workplace standards.

With more and more states passing medical use laws as well as 2 having made recreation use legal, the NFL is finally adjusting to the new realities.

2. Use of amphetamines will be reclassified as substance abuse, rather  than performance enhancing. I'll get into alcohol abuse violations at the end, as this is one of the main sticking problems in the negotiations.

From the POLICY AND PROGRAM FOR SUBSTANCES OF ABUSE as agree upon in the 2010 CBA.

A player will normally be subject to discipline up to and including suspension without pay for four regular and/or post-season games for a first violation of the law related to substances of abuse other than alcohol and for six regular and/or post-season games for a second violation of the law related to substances of abuse other than alcohol. A player's treatment history may be considered by the Commissioner in determining the appropriate degree of discipline. The suspension period may be extended if medically necessary, and, if extended, may involve mandatory treatment if required by the Medical Director.

The players also go into an intervention program. Basically there are 3 stages in the program, with at least a 1 year suspension, following the failing of the 3rd intervention stage.

For performance enhancing drugs the penalties are a little different and potentially more severe.

The highlights are,  suspension without pay for a minimum of four regular and/or postseason games for a 1st offense. 2nd offense brings a suspension of eight regular and/or postseason games. The 3rd violation will result in a suspension  without pay for a period of at least 12 months, and then the player must apply for reinstatement.

3. Testing for HGH would begin immediately if the players union drops it's demands of a population study. A player's right to challenge the "science" of the test on appeal, supposedly negating the need for the population study.

The sticking point is the NFL wanting to suspend players immediately upon arrest for a DUI.

Currently a DUI falls under:
B. Alcohol-Related Offenses.The Commissioner will review and may impose a fine, suspension, or other appropriate discipline if a player is convicted of or admits to a violation of the law (including within the context of a diversionary program, deferred adjudication, disposition of supervision,or similar arrangement including but not limited to nolo contendere) relating to the use of alcohol. Absent aggravating circumstances, discipline for a first offense will generally be a fine of two-seventeenths (2/17) of the amount in Paragraph 5 of the NFL Player Contract to a maximum of $50,000. If the Commissioner finds that there were aggravating circumstances, including but not limited to felonious conduct or serious injury or death of third parties, and/or if the player has had prior drug or alcohol-related misconduct, increased discipline up to and including suspension may be imposed.

Currently coming out on twitter.