We haven’t heard much about the NFL’s investigation into Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers lately. There’s good reason for that. Both Packers and the other players being investigated for their alleged connection to a drug ring have refused to cooperate with the NFL at the urging of the player’s union.
The NFL said they were coming to interview all of the players involved — that includes former Packer Mike Neal and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison — the day training camp opened. Those interviews, of course, never happened.
So it’s come to this. An ultimatum.
NFL says James Harrison, Clay Matthews, Julius Peopers, Mike Neal have till Aug. 25 to give interviews on PEDs – or face Aug. 26 suspension.
The league also sent this letter to the NFLPA, which Schefter posted.
We find it interesting that Neal, the only one of the players to previously be suspended for a drug violation, supposedly provided false statements to the NFL in his statement.
Neal is the only one of the four players currently unemployed. We’re sure this investigation and his previous suspension has something to do with that.
It’s clear why the NFLPA doesn’t want these players to submit to the interviews. The allegations and thus, the investigation, is based on since-recanted statements in a report filed by a now-defunct news organization. The player’s association contends the NFL has produced no evidence of any wrongdoing. Ultimately, this is about precedent. If the league can badger players because someone said something in an open forum (which they later said wasn’t true), the NFL can pretty much launch an investigation into anyone at any time without any actual evidence.
Clearly, the league isn’t going to back down because they feel they need to assert their right to do whatever they want to whoever they want at all times.
Will the player’s association back down? Or will the players cave now that they’re being faced with suspensions?
Our guess is this is going to end up in court.
Even if the league hands out suspensions, any court proceedings would likely delay those from being served in 2016.