What took the NFL so long?
Nearly eight months after a December Al-Jazerra documentary implicated a collection of big NFL stars in a performance enhancing drug scandal, the league will finally get a chance to interview three of the biggest names from that report.
The Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, along with Pittsburgh Steelers’ James Harrison will all be interviewed at the start of their respective training camps.
Back to that whole “what took them so long” question. It appears that the league and the NFLPA went toe-to-toe over the players being interviewed at all and the Players Association started delaying the interviews as far back as April of this year.
The NFLPA has been attempting to stonewall the player interviews largely because it doesn’t want the league conducting interviews for every allegation made against a player. That’s especially true in this case because the Al-Jazeera America report has since been retracted and the person behind all the statements in the story has recanted as well.
Let’s just say the NFLPA isn’t too happy with the nature of this investigation, releasing the following statement:
“The NFLPA represents its players in conjunction with any investigation by their employer. On behalf of its players, the NFLPA made numerous inquiries of the NFL through Adolpho Birch asking whether the basis of the NFL’s investigation of players is entirely predicated upon recanted statements to a person used by Al Jazeera to make secret recordings. The NFL has not provided any other evidence, nor has it informed the NFLPA or players that any such evidence exists.
“As of today, the only additional response from the NFL has been to demand interviews, and apparently to provide correspondence to the media. The NFLPA will continue to represent and advise its players of their rights, and to communicate the players’ decisions to the NFL.”
For the NFL, they have simply wanted to inquire and may be doing interviews for the sake of transparency. However, one has to wonder at what level the league is going too far and at what level the union’s stonewalling only hurts the players named (rightfully or wrongfully) in the recanted documentary.