Four players have refused to speak with the National Football League (NFL) officials about their involvement in a Performance-Enhancing Drugs (PED) scandal and all four, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers (Green Bay Packers), Mike Neal (free agent) and James Harrison (Pittsburgh Steelers), are likely to be suspended if they do not address the issue as requested by the league.
According to the league’s rules, the suspensions would be for “conduct detrimental” to the league and this is separate from possible PED-related suspensions if they are found guilty of illegal drug use.
“We cannot accept your unilateral assertion that the cursory, untested statements you have submitted satisfy the players’ obligation. Accordingly, the Commissioner has directed that Messrs. Harrison, Matthews, Neal and Peppers be given until Thursday, August 25 to provide interviews,” an official league statement was sent to the players involved.
“For those players whose interviews do not take place on or before that date, or who fail meaningfully to participate in or otherwise obstruct the interview, their actions will constitute conduct detrimental and they will be suspended, separate and apart from any possible future determination that they violated the steroid policy.”
Other NFL players like Dustin Keller (New York Jets/Miami Dolphins) and the retired quarterback Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos) have also been included in the Al Jazeera documentary exposing that some players have taken PEDs to help them in their NFL career. The league has cleared Manning of all the charges.
Harrison is a fourteen year veteran for the Steelers and remains one of its on-field leaders while Matthews and Peppers are crucial in the Packers defensive system. Neal is still a free agent and the Al Jazeera expose hurt his chances of signing another NFL contract.
If suspended, the Al Jazeera documentary will have a big blow on the Green Bay Packers, which are considered one of the title contenders in the upcoming 2016 NFL Season.
Photo courtesy: Mike Morbeck/Wikimedia