All of the active (and want-to-be-active) players named in the Al Jazeera “drug ring” investigation late last year are said to be ready and willing to be interviewed by the league. That would include current Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, along with former Packers linebacker Mike Neal.
The NFL has been investigating the allegations since January, but has yet to speak to any of the players named in the report.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the players in question — Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and James Harrison — are and have been willing to submit to interviews, along with free-agent Mike Neal. The delay arises from an inability of the NFL and NFL Players Association to reach an agreement on the scope of the interviews and other factors relevant to the process.
As we noted on Friday, the NFLPA has been blocking these interviews from happening. The league issued a letter this week saying all interviews will take place on the first day of training camp. For the Packers, that day is July 26.
Why is the NFLPA dragging its feet here?
That’s pretty simple.
These drug allegations spring from a report by a now disbanded news organization (Al Jazeera America) in which the primary source later recanted his statements. So, where do you draw the line in protecting your players if you’re the NFLPA?
I could go on Twitter right now and claim that Adrian Peterson abuses children… oh, wait a second, that really happened. I could go on Twitter right now and claim Teddy Bridgewater mainlines heroin in his downtime. Does the league get to interview Ted about that allegation?
This is about precedent.
If the player’s association allows these interviews to proceed, then that opens the door for all kinds of intrusion by the NFL.
As for the Packers named in these allegations, they’ve all denied any wrongdoing. Surely, they’re eager to clear their names and move on.