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Matthews & Peppers To Meet With NFL On PED Allegations

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Matthews & Peppers To Meet With NFL On PED Allegations

Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers will be meeting with the NFL in the next week to discuss the allegations against them about obtaining performance enhancing drugs (PED's).  Back in December, Al Jazeera America, which has since closed up shop, reported a list of NFL players who had allegedly obtained the PED's via a "pharmacist" by the name of Charlie Sly.  In a conversation with an undercover reporter, Sly named players who he was supplying and included Matthews and Peppers, among other NFL players that included Peyton Manning, James Harrison and former Packers linebacker Mike Neal.  As soon as the report became public, Sly recanted his statement.

Despite the retraction, the NFL has been wanting to discuss these allegations with the players named.  Manning has already met with the league and cleared his name, as far as they're involved.  Manning retired shortly after the 2015 season in which he led the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl championship.  The other players have not spoken to the league and have been asked not to by the NFL Players Association.  Their fear is that this sets a bad precedent with there being no failed test nor other credible evidence beyond Sly's own words.  This would potentially open doors for others to try and come forward with similar allegations or even others aimed at players in an effort to put them on the spot.

Earlier this week, the league sent letters to the players mentioned in the report, stating that they had until August 25th to meet and discuss their involvement, or lack thereof, in the situation or face an indefinite suspension.  Here is an excerpt of the letter received by the players:

"For those players whose interviews do not take place on or before [Aug. 25], 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."

Currently, commissioner Roger Goodell holds all of the power in determining player discipline, as agreed to by the current collective bargaining agreement.  At the time, that concession allowed the players to avoid a work stoppage in 2011 but it's now haunting them and leaving them with little choice but to agree to meet with the NFL or miss game checks.  After watching the saga between Tom Brady and the league over deflated footballs two seasons ago, one thing is known: it's not easy to beat the shield.  And Goodell knows it.

This is another example of Goodell abusing his power, a power that he is entitled to and that was given to him by the players.  It's clear that he's not as interested in what's "right" as much as he is making sure he is feared, respected and that everyone involved is bowing down to him.  Under the current rules, players testing positive for PED's is a serious offense.  Whether you agree with it or not, the fact remains that some players use them and some don't.  Based on that, PED's give guys who use an unfair advantage that should be monitored.  The problem here is that there was no test.  None of these players took nor failed a test and so to save face, Goodell and the league are squeezing them into answering to the claims of some guy on the street, more or less.  

We never know with Goodell, but the hope is that the players will be cleared and the matter will be closed after they sit down to discuss it.  The league may feel compelled to take action or drag this out with the players not cooperating until now.  That wouldn't surprise many.  But it's time to get past this ugly chapter and focus on football.

 

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Pulse of the Pack podcast.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (14) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

Regardless of the fact that the "facts" don't favor the asshat.. I mean.. Goodell, in this case; I deeply fear the NFL will be lying in wait trying to trap CM3 and Peppers. Just like Deflate-gate, this could completely blow up the Packers season.

I hate these owners and I HATE Goodell. I really really hope the players strike. Sooner rather than later.

I know die-hard fans say this stuff all the time, but I really mean it: If the NFL gets much more like a soap opera, I'm going to be done as a fan. Play the damn game and leave everything else out of it. No China. No London. No 5 preseason games. No judge-jury-executioner crap.

Let the fans stream individual games for a reasonable fee, compensate the players fairly, and leave all the other crap out of it.

jasonperone's picture

Bear, it's hard to argue with a lot of what you're saying and you've said this before. If we lose you, I'll validate it by saying you told us all so. I'm just as guilty of becoming more aware of Goodell now that his powers have hit closer to home but at least the lightbulb went off. He's out of control.

Bearmeat's picture

Yep.

And for the record, I really don't want to be done with being a fan. The Packers have brought my family a lot of happiness over the years. Some of my best memories as a kid are from Sunday afternoons in the fall with my dad.

But I've never liked drama. IMO, if you disagree with someone, tell them to their face and hash it out like a grownup. Then, if nothing is resolved, agree to disagree and get along in your jobs. Like grownups.

The owners and the NFLPA are a bunch of greedy, whiny crybaby men. It's disgusting. If I wanted a damn soap opera, I'd watch Days Of Our Lives, or the Hallmark Channel.

Sorry for the cursing. I'm just unbelievably angry about this ongoing NFL silliness since the winter of 2011.

TommyG's picture

They talk, the accusations are put to rest, and we go on to the season. Once this is killed no one will be able to say "but what about those Al Jazeera comments" and that's all goodell cares about.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

This sucks. Goodell has absolutely no credible evidence and the CBA does not give him the right to go in fishing expeditions. I can't believe the Union does not file an injunction. I fear D Smith is just a talker. Manning opened a whole can of worms here by talking to the league office. Now every time there is hearsay about a player they have to go to New York to be questioned by the NFL gestapo.

WinUSA's picture

I think ARod had it right when he said that the issue of unwielding power to the Commy Ish..was the fault of the players union for conceding that under the collective bargaining agreement!

They gave up the 5th amendment rights for their players. The Commy ish can hire all the legal beagles to set incriminating snares for these plyers for the most part are NOT legalease literate.

Now that being said...I just wanted to give Kudos to this publication. I am so sick and tired of reading the same fricken articles bout the Packers in the Milwaukee Journal, The GBPG....Packernews.com etc. Yeah I know it's an exhibition game, but aren't the sport writers suppose to you know...WRITE? There was a ton of action going on that was never addressed.....and while I'm at it-does anybody else hate those fricken BS interviews during the action of the game? er, sorry venting.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I find the preseason to be interesting. Every year the Packers find some gem and its interesting to see who it is.

EddieLee's picture

This is clearly an investigation that should fall under the PED provisions of the CBA. Goodell in order to end round those rules and limitations is dumping this into the "detrimental to the league" part of the CBA. This is exactly why you need union representation. Well, competent union representation.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

The NFLPA is highly competent at taking a cut of the Players money.

Michalske's picture

In any negotiation, you are not going to get everything you want, so you have to prioritize. In 2011, the NFLPA prioritized the minimum salary spend by the teams, and they got it. They did not prioritize player discipline, partly because, if you think about it, it had never been an issue before -- all of these 'discipline' issues outside the drug testing program (domestic abuse, Deflategate, LyingAlJazeeraGate) ALL came up afterward.

So this means the negotiations begin, like always, informally and in public. With the domestic abuse situations, the WHOLE narrative was "Why doesn't the League (=Goodell) do anything? The League (=Goodell) SHOULD do something1" The public did not care that there was no provision in the CBA to regulate specific off-field behavior other than the drug policy, they (=we) wanted SOMETHING DONE!!!

So Goodell found a way to do something about Ray Rice and AP ("Good of the league"), and when ball deflation became an issue he did it again (at least that time there was a microscopic chance the issue actually might affect the outcome of a game, at least on partly cloudy Tuesday with wind gusts over 30 mph coming from the northwest.)

So now Goodell is doing it again, and the union needs to set some parameters within the current CBA (No Roger, you actually have to say its a 'for the good of the league thing, the drug policy requires CREDIBLE evidence.) So the lines for the next contract negotiation are drawn.

Expecting Goodell not to expand his power is like expecting rocks to fall up, not because he is evil but because it is his *job* to exert authority over league operations, and the Iron Law of Bureaucracy requires bureaucratic power to grow until a limit is imposed. The union did what it could to define the issue (blanket authority 'for the good of the league') and now has an issue they can bring to the next CBA negotiation.

We fans look at this like Bearmeat, forgetting for the moment (as we all really want to) that the NFL is a business (corporate bureaucracy is still bureaucracy). The thing is we also forget that no business wants to admit its publicly known employees are cheaters, etc. Goodell's objective with regard to Clay and Julius and James Harrison is to have a public demonstration that they are NOT guilty and that the LyingAlJazeera report was exactly that -- just like he did with Peyton Manning. The League HAS to get a public demonstration of that the charges against these players are bogus because if they don't, there will always be the question of why the league (in the shape of Goodell) did not exonerate them. Bureaucracy may promote douchebaggery (via that Iron Law), but the reasons it does are always real reasons. That's why the 'Iron Law' is in fact a natural law, observable in all times and places.

al bundy's picture

People tend to miss the fact they have NOT been accused of anything by the league. Its really a mess because the NFLPA stepped in an said you have no right to talk to a player who did nothing wrong!
First, these guys have every right to defend themselves and should have a long time ago instead of sitting back and letting the union make a mountain out of this.
This is more about power and pissing contest then anything else.
Hopefuly we can get these guys on the field to get in shape.

lucky953's picture

In addition to the Substance Abuse Program and the Performance Enhancing Drug Program, the League also has a Personal Conduct Program, which is what Goodell is bending and twisting to pressure our players. In the long run, it's good for the league because it communicates to the general public that the league takes these issues Seriously. That keeps the dollars flowing and enables the salary cap to keep rising, which is good for the players (and frankly, even better for the owners [except us Packer shareholders of course]). It is something of a dog-and-pony show. Goodell is employed by the owners, who want their sport to be #1. Bad publicity is anathema to that objective, but it does mean that "due process" means something different in the NFL than it does in our criminal justice system.

PETER MAIZ's picture

This is a bit more complicated. Apparently, Charly Sly backed off when Payton's money came roaring in in the form of Ari Fleisher, private investigators, and lawyers. What we know is that Mrs. Payton did receive medications from this almost scammy clinic in Indianapolis. boston.cbslocal.com/2016/02/05/charlie-sly-peyton-manning-hgh-fabrication/Manning had visited the clinic 32 times. Sly, too, could be a bit of a scammer as he was an unpaid intern that was at the clinic for just two months. I believe the Boston Glove article lends credence to some of the things Sly said.

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