NFL, NFLPA issue joint memo on drug testing

There was a memo distributed to all NFL clubs and players yesterday from the league, making it clear that, in the wake of the recent “StarCaps” cases, the enforcement policies for the league’s drug-testing program have not changed.

It’s worth noting that Commissioner Roger Goodell asked DeMaurice Smith, the head of the NFLPA, to join him in issuing the memo, as a sign of support. These policies, though now being challenged by Minnesota Vikings Kevin Williams and Pat Williams in a Minnesota court, are collectively bargained, and while that court case remains open, it does not change the veracity of the testing policy as we move forward.

I obtained a copy of the memo from one its recipients, and it reads as follows:

You have probably heard about lawsuits involving several players who tested positive for a banned substance that was contained in a supplement called “StarCaps.” Those cases are being heard by the courts. Earlier this week, Commissioner Goodell said that those players would not be suspended at this time.

It is important for all players to understand that the Policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances remains in place and that you will be tested this year just as you have been in other years and a positive test will generally result in a suspension.

Please be sure that you understand your rights and obligations under the Policy.

  • You are responsible for what is in your body. A positive test will not be excused because you used a supplement that contained a banned substance.
  • If you take any supplements other than those certified under our Sports Nutrition Label Certification Program, you do so at your own risk. Supplements are not tested or regulated, and often have ingredients that will cause you to test positive.
  • Weight-loss supplements such as “StarCaps” are particularly risky. You should not take them.
  • If you have questions, you should call Dr. John Lombardo.

We continue to support the policy and our players and will continue to work to maintain its effectiveness, to improve it, and to ensure that it applies fairly and consistently.

Best of luck for the 2009 season.

Commissioner   Executive Director
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