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Rival Report 8/16: Power crazy NFL threatens suspensions for uncooperative players in Al Jazeera report

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The NFL has no credible evidence against players named in the now recanted Al Jazeera report that claimed current NFL players Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, James Harrison and Mike Neal used steroids. They now want to force those players to interview in their investigation anyway, to see if they will provide any credible evidence.

Seriously. The NFL is trying to use their unlimited player discipline power granted to them by Article 46 of the NFL's CBA to compel players to do an interview that would possibly incriminate themselves because they don't have enough evidence against them on their own. They are using the same clause in the CBA that they just successfully used against Tom Brady in deflategate to issue their ultimatum.

The players that have been accused now have until August 25th to participate in an interview with the NFL or they will be suspended. They won't just be suspended for a little while either, they will be suspended indefinitely until they do cooperate in the NFL's witch hunt. They must prove their innocence against unsubstantiated and recanted accusations when the NFL has no credible evidence against them or else they will be barred from their teams indefinitely.

This is exactly the type of move that some players feared would happen if Tom Brady lost his Deflategate appeals, and the NFL has wasted no time at all to prove them correct. Their new confidence after winning in federal courts the right to suspend Tom Brady under Article 46 has left them power crazy and now they are using their all-powerful throne to unfairly force players to bend to their will.

Not only is the NFL overusing their power in this case, they are doing so after already having cleared Peyton Manning of any wrongdoing from this very same report. Their golden boy QB gets to walk into the sunset with his legacy untarnished, while other players mentioned in the same report are being threatened with indefinite suspensions for their belief that they shouldn't have to participate in the NFL's attempts to gather evidence against them.

The players can interview when the NFL has no credible evidence to use against them despite the NFLPA being against them doing so, they can interview after being suspended for not interviewing and possibly provide the evidence the NFL doesn't currently have to suspend them for PED's, or they can kiss their football careers goodbye as the NFL will only reinstate them after their interviews.

There is a 4th option, they can take this to the Federal Courts just like Tom Brady did in Deflategate. That is the most likely option the players will choose, though it is an uphill battle because the NFL already set their precedence for this type of punishment from Roger Goodell with their suspension of Brady. You would think that the NFL would have wanted to avoid another Deflategate type legal battle in court, but they are essentially asking for one now with the players having their backs against the wall.

N.F.L. Threatens to Suspend Four Players for Not Cooperating With Steroid Investigation - The New York Times
Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, James Harrison and Mike Neal have declined to participate after a news report linked them to performance-enhancing drugs.

NFL gives players accused in Al Jazeera story three choices — none of them good - USA Today
Defenders named in Al Jazeera story facing potential suspension and uphill legal fight.

In Al Jazeera case, the NFL is dangerously overreaching
Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson may have some issues with the way things are going down, but the NFL is at least treating him fairly under the guidelines of the collective bargaining agreement. - John Smallwood, Philadelphia Daily News

August 15 letter from NFL to NFLPA over Al Jazeera PED allegations | ProFootballTalk
"The suspension for each such player will begin on Friday, August 26 and will continue until he has fully participated in an interview with league investigators, after which the Commissioner will determine whether and when the suspension should be lifted."

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