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The NFL's Full PED Policy

With the majority of the suspensions at the start of the 2018 season coming from PED’s, we thought it would be worth taking a moment to look a little deeper in the NFL’s substance abuse policy on banned substances. If you’re not in the mood for legal writing skip past this official statement of policy for our explanation.


The National Football League Management Council and NFL Players Association

(“NFLPA”) (collectively, the “Parties”) have jointly developed this Policy on

Performance-Enhancing Substances (the “Policy”) to prohibit and prevent the use of

anabolic/androgenic steroids (including exogenous testosterone), stimulants, human or

animal growth hormones, whether natural or synthetic and related or similar substances.

For convenience, these substances, as well as masking agents or diuretics used to hide their

presence, will be referred to as “Prohibited Substances.”1 These substances have no

legitimate place in professional football. This Policy specifically means that:


— Players may not, in the absence of a valid therapeutic use exemption, have Prohibited

Substances in their systems or supply or facilitate the distribution

of Prohibited Substances to other Players.

— Coaches, Athletic Trainers, Club Personnel, or Certified Contract Advisors may

not condone, encourage, supply, or otherwise facilitate in any way the use of Prohibited


— Team Physicians may not prescribe, supply, or otherwise facilitate a Player’s use of

Prohibited Substances.

— All Persons, including Players, are subject to discipline for violation of this Policy.

The Parties are concerned with the use of Prohibited Substances based on three primary



First, these substances threaten the fairness and integrity of the athletic competition on

the playing field. Players may use these substances for the purpose of becoming bigger,

stronger, and faster than they otherwise would be. As a result, their use threatens to

distort the results of games and League standings. Moreover, Players who do not wish

to use these substances may feel forced to do so in order to compete effectively with

those who do. This is obviously unfair to those Players and provides sufficient reason to

prohibit their use.

Second, the Parties are concerned with the adverse health effects of using Prohibited

Substances. Although research is continuing, steroid use has been linked to a number of

physiological, psychological, orthopedic, reproductive, and other serious health

problems, including heart disease, liver cancer, musculoskeletal growth defects, strokes,

and infertility.

Third, the use of Prohibited Substances by Players sends the wrong message to young

people who may be tempted to use them. NFL Players should not by their own conduct

suggest that such use is either acceptable or safe, whether in the context of sports or



The NFL Player Contract specifically prohibits the use of drugs in an effort to alter or

enhance performance. The NFL Player Contract and the League’s Constitution and Bylaws

require each Player to avoid conduct detrimental to the NFL and professional football or

to public confidence in the game or its Players. The use of Prohibited Substances violates

both these provisions. In addition, the Commissioner is authorized to protect the integrity

of and public confidence in the game. This authorization includes the authority to forbid

use of the substances prohibited by this Policy.


The Parties recognize that maintaining competitive balance among NFL clubs requires that

all NFL Players be subject to the same rules and procedures regarding drug testing. The

rules and procedures set forth herein are designed to protect the confidentiality of

information associated with this Policy and to ensure the accuracy of test results, and the

Parties intend that the Policy meets or exceeds all applicable laws and regulations related

thereto. The Parties also recognize the importance of transparency in the Policy’s

procedures, including the scientific methodologies that underlie the Policy, the appeals

process and the basis for discipline imposed, and reaffirm their commitment to deterrence,

discipline and a fair system of adjudication.

The NFL has deemed the use of “any” performance enhancing drug on their banned substance list punishable.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the NFL’s procedure for administering this policy.