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.
- GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY
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
— 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,
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.