The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the NFL on Monday, and it doesn’t look too good for the league.
The NFLPA is alleging the NFL violated the collective bargaining agreement by knowing teams were improperly dispensing painkillers to players but failing to do anything about it. The 21-page document states “the NFL and clubs have ‘disregarded … explicit CBA requirements as they apply to the proper, legal, medically ethical prescription, dispensing, and transportation of prescription painkillers.’”
The Players Association says it warned the NFL about these violations — which range from not informing players about the risks of mixing pills to over-prescribing them — in April, and the league didn’t respond in a timely manner. The grievance came after it was uncovered in March that 1,800 players had filed a lawsuit against the NFL for improper distribution of the pills.
Team doctors and trainers have admitted to some sketchy violations in the NFLPA’s grievance, too. The Buffalo Bills’ doctor revealed players weren’t told about the dangers of “cocktailing” painkillers, despite doctors and trainers knowing the team would provide those players with alcohol in situations like team flights. Pittsburgh Steelers medical personnel confessed that players had been lining up for Toradol injections before games for 15 years, while a Cincinnati Bengals trainer admitted to deceiving NFL “pill counters” so they could continue prescribing medications at their leisure.
Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons personnel also made confessions in the grievance. NFLPA general counsel Tom DePaso called out the league for being harder on the New England Patriots in Deflategate than on these teams putting players in harm’s way.
“Having recently punished the New England Patriots to the tune of forfeiting first-and fourth-round draft picks plus a $1 million fine for alleged conduct relating to taking a tiny amount of air out of footballs, it is incomprehensible that the League has taken no action whatsoever against Clubs to redress and incentivize compliance with their Article 39 obligations towards the health and safety of NFL players,” DePaso said.
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