The NFL player’s association voted to approve the league’s new drug policy, which will include HGH testing and the lowering of penalties when it comes to offenses regarding marijuana.
Player representatives to the union voted Friday to significantly increase the threshold for positive marijuana tests. Some players have complained that the NFL threshold of 15 nanograms per milliliter is so low that anyone within the vicinity of people smoking marijuana could test positive. The threshold has been increased to 35 ng/ml.
Cleveland Brown wide receiver Josh Gordon’s yearlong suspension for repeatedly testing positive for marijuana has been reduced to 10 games.
They also approved a league proposal to implement testing for human growth hormone for the 2014 NFL season. HGH testing was originally agreed upon in 2011, but the players were hesitant about the the science in the testing and the appeals process for positive tests.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the changes are retroactive for players suspended under previous policies, as well as for those in the appeal process. Denver Broncos wide receiverWes Wleker and Dallas Cowboys corner back Orlando Scandrick will be reinstated and eligible to play Sunday.
Welker was suspended for amphetamine use in the offseason, but punishment for that is being switched from the performance enhancers policy to the substance abuse program — except for in-season violations.
A two-game suspension will be issued for a player convicted of driving under the influence. But an NFL proposal to immediately suspend a player, owner, coach, team executive or league employee for a DUI arrest was rejected by the union.
Both sides agreed to arbitration for appeals under the substance abuse and the PED policies. The NFL and NFL Players Association will hire between three and five arbitrators.
They also will retain independent investigators to review cases in which player confidentiality under the drug policy has been breached. Punishment for leaks could range up to $500,000 and/or termination of a job.