Sunday morning, the NFL Players Association voted to approve a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that will ensure labor peace for the next decade. There were many changes to the league included in the new CBA, but one of the biggest was the overhaul of the NFL's drug policy. Players will no longer be suspended for positive marijuana tests.
Under the previous CBA, players could be fined and then suspended for an increasing amount of time for each positive marijuana test. The first failed drug test meant a referral to the substance abuse program. The second would result in a fine of two game checks, and a third violation resulted in a fine of four game checks.
Further positive tests would result in an increasing suspension, starting at four games. The next step was a 10-game suspension, followed by a one-year ban. Prominent players, such as wide receiver Josh Gordon and defensive end Randy Gregory both received indefinite suspensions following repeated positive tests. Under the new policy, they would not be suspended. Although the CBA changes will not affect ongoing suspensions.
"So why in the hell even test for it then???" former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore asked on Sunday. If the players will not get suspended, why would the league test them for marijuana? The reason seems to be that the league is attempting to incorporate a drug program focused on clinical care instead of punishment.
'Basically, if you test positive, your test gets reviewed by a board of jointly appointed medical professionals to determine whether you need any kind of treatment," Dan Graziano of ESPN clarified. "The NFLPA deal memo also says that violations of law for marijuana possession generally will not result in suspension."
One of the other major changes was the testing time period. Under the existing CBA, the league could give the players a random test between April and August. Now the testing period has been narrowed to a two-week period prior to training camp.
Finally, the threshold for a positive test has been increased. Thirty-five nanograms of carboxy THC per milliliter of urine had been the previous threshold, but it has now been increased to 150. This should decrease the number of positive tests.
The policies will be changing, and now the fans want to see Gordon make a return to the league. The former wide receiver was one of the most talented players in the league, but he struggled with failed drug tests. The fans believe that this is the perfect time to bring him back.
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