NFL tells NFLPA have players interview or else

GBP4EVER

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NFL’s Senior Vice President of Labor Policy & League Affairs Adolpho Birch sent this letter to NFLPA today:
As you know, the league has been investigating a nationally televised report concerning potential violations of the collectively bargained Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances. There can be no question that the league has a good faith basis for conducting this investigation; moreover, the league and NFLPA have a shared interest in ensuring that our jointly developed policy is not being violated.
Nevertheless, since the initiation of our investigation in January the league has made at least seven attempts to arrange interviews of Messrs. Harrison, Matthews, Neal and Peppers. On each occasion, the NFLPA has communicated the players’ refusal to participate. Most recently, the NFLPA has attempted to prevent the interviews by submitting for each player a half-page statement, which you advised should be treated as a sworn statement given in a legal proceeding, and which you contend should fulfill the players’ acknowledged obligation to cooperate with the investigation. The statements, however, are wholly devoid of any detail, and we were quickly able to determine that Mr. Neal’s statement includes an assertion that is demonstrably false. Rather than eliminate the need for interviews, the players’ plainly deficient statements simply underscore the importance of obtaining their full cooperation.
You were so advised on July 29, when we again wrote to offer the players another opportunity to participate in an interview, beginning with Mr. Neal. In that letter, you were expressly notified that continued noncooperation could result in discipline up to and including a suspension. In response, you provided a revised statement and letter which acknowledged Mr. Neal’s prior steroid policy violation and that his previous “sworn statement” is in fact untrue. Most important, you advised that Mr. Neal had again refused to cooperate with our investigation by participating in an interview.
There is no dispute that players are obligated to cooperate with the league’s investigation, as you have repeatedly acknowledged. This obligation includes not only the responsibility to submit to an interview but also the duty to provide meaningful responses to the questions posed. Nor is there a dispute that a failure to cooperate or an attempt to obstruct the investigation may result in discipline, including suspension from play, for conduct detrimental under Article 46 of the CBA and the NFL Player Contract.
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.
To avoid this outcome, please promptly contact my office to make arrangements for the interviews. As previously stated, we will make every effort to accommodate the NFLPA’s availability, within the outlined time period.
 

TW

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I agree. If you're clean, you have nothing to worry about. If they did it, they deserve to be suspended. If they don't show up by the 25th, they're going to really hurt the Packers season with their refusal to show. How do you gauge what you need to do with your roster when you don't know if these guys are going to be gone for 1/4 the season before it starts.
 

eyecatcher

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Very interesting article packinatl.

Mark said it yesterday. The NFLPA signed a bad CBA and it is costing them in these investigations. It seems like another Brady style witch hunt but the players are screwed by the deal they signed. Do the interviews and move on.
 

rpiotr01

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The PA agreed to giving the commish that authority because they assumed some degree of amicability in the league offices relationship with players, I.e. he wouldn't use it to bash them over the head like a bully with a club. Goodness did they misjudge his character.

I really don't see a way around this for the players except to just get the interviews over with. It sets a terrible, terrible precedent when it comes to people making false claims and threatening to extort players in the future, but clearly the league gives zero shits about something like that.
 

Packinatl

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This is a bit different than the Brady case. Some of these items fall under points that were already collectively bargained. Without going into detail here the SI article above points things out rather well
 

Mark87

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The PA agreed to giving the commish that authority because they assumed some degree of amicability in the league offices relationship with players, I.e. he wouldn't use it to bash them over the head like a bully with a club. Goodness did they misjudge his character.

I really don't see a way around this for the players except to just get the interviews over with. It sets a terrible, terrible precedent when it comes to people making false claims and threatening to extort players in the future, but clearly the league gives zero shits about something like that.
Unless of course league security has found something in all this....Neal is known to have a PED habit dating back to Purdue.I think everyone assumes this is without merit when in reality we really have no idea.
 

GBP4EVER

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Unless of course league security has found something in all this....Neal is known to have a PED habit dating back to Purdue.I think everyone assumes this is without merit when in reality we really have no idea.
That's why I think they might have something on Neal an either want him to flip on the others or to tell the others we have the goods on Neal can connect him to you. If you come clean we will consider it during punishment.
 

Packinatl

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2 things

They want Neal to corroborate evidence. He's a know user not the big fish.

Just a gut feeling. Manning talked in exchange for immunity. The league statement was very loosely worded
 
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