NFL Players Drug Treatment Program Not Being Overseen During Work StoppageBREAKING NEWS, News, NFL League Office, NFLPA Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
Adolpho Birch who oversees the NFL’s drug counseling and testing program is concerned that the league’s players, who have been previously involved in either recreational or performance-enhancing drug use and been receiving counseling or testing, could run into problems during the work stoppage.
The NFL owners and players have refused to allow the league to continue to contact players to make sure they are attending their counseling sessions and testing appointments. The programs are no longer mandatory, so players can continue if they would like or discontinue them.
It’s not public knowledge which players are getting substance abuse counseling and testing, so we don’t know the names of the players this situation could affect.
Birch let Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com know his concerns, “If guys do not continue to take advantage of the program, I’m concerned about them, their families, the people who depend on them and that the progress that has been made may not continue.”
I can guarantee you that at least 70% of those players will ditch the substance abuse program if they have to pay for it themselves. If a players is struggling to stay clean this is the worst thing that can happen. We may find out that some key players around the league start failing drugs tests and being suspended when a new CBA is signed or an injunction is issued.
“We have advised those players who were either receiving treatment or testing that they could continue to see the clinicians they were seeing,” Birch said. “Obviously, they’d have to be doing that on their own and it would entirely be their choice. But that option is available to them.”
I hope the Birds don’t wind up losing any players because this situation. You never know.
I think the owners and players union’s refusal to continue this program during the lockout shows them in a bad light. Shouldn’t both sides in this disagreement want to see these players continue to get treatment? This decision isn’t helping anybody but it could allow some players to destroy their careers.
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