The Latest NFL Labor Proposal Eliminates Suspensions for Drug Violations

Source - If at least 50 percent plus one of the dues-paying members of the NFL Players Association vote in favor of the proposed CBA, no player will be suspended during the next decade for testing positive for marijuana or any other substance of abuse.

The 2020 substance-abuse policy ... removes all suspensions for positive tests. Instead, players will be subject to fines only for a positive drug test.

Players in stage one of the program who test positive face no penalty at all, other than being advanced to stage two. In stage two, positive tests result only in fines.

For the first violation, the player loses one half of a game check. For the second violation, he loses a week’s pay. For the third violation, it’s two weeks’ salary. For the fourth and all subsequent violations, it’s a three-game fine. While that can get expensive, the player will still be allowed to play.

This is a bold move from the most conservative, uptight, image-obsessed, sponsor-conscious, family friendly collection of billionaires ever to exist on Earth. For a league fixated on getting mom and dad and the kids huddled around the set watching their beloved broadcast partners sell cars to loosen up their restrictions on controlled substances this much was unthinkable just a couple of years ago. There are few things the league likes saying more than their players are their product. Even though they don't mean it. The fact they're willing to present to Middle America a product that manages pain with the Devil's Basil or Sunday Scaries CBD Gummies proves just how far they're willing to go to make it to that $25 billion revenue stream that has become Roger Goodell's white whale. 

I mean, I guess so much for pedantic speeches about how it's a "privilege" to be able to play in this great game and how dishonoring it by having cannabis in your system is tarnishing The Shield. These guys want a deal. Bad. So much so that they're actually willing to treat their union employees like grown adults. This might not seem like that big a concession in 2020. But for some of the stodgy, old money, antediluvian sticks-in-the-mud who run this league, it's like if the Mormons started letting you do tequila shots in the middle of church.

This after all is the league that sent Ricky Williams packing at the age of 26, coming off two seasons where he had a combined 3,100 rushing yards on almost 800 carries. He announced he'd rather go on tour with Lenny Kravitz, getting high every day for no money than make millions but have to stay away from the Samwise Ganjah thanks to their rules. He did come back eventually. Then had to sit out an entire season. But was past his prime and save for a bit of a bounce back year at 32, was never the same.

And let's talk forget about Josh Gordon, who has to be doing this right now:

Now a guy like Gordon, who wants to partake in Mother Nature and still play football, can see it as just the cost of doing business. And become a zillion times more attractive to prospective employers who can view him as a viable weapon instead of just a Suspended Man Walking. 

I can't speak to the other provisions in this owner's offer and how it's going over with the NFLPA rank and file. The shortened preseason will have some appeal while a 17-game schedule shouldn't. And nobody seems to know how the gaming revenue is going to be calculated. But I'll bet anything dangling this carrot of no drug suspensions is enough to get this deal approved.