9:45pm: The saga continues. NFL player reps could vote on a new drug policy soon as tomorrow and suspended players expecting their reinstatement believe that a quick return to the field is possible, tweets Ed Werder of ESPN.
9:20pm: In the new proposed program, players who test positive for marijuana will have a few extra stages and the second offense will drop from a four-game suspension to two games, tweets Glazer.
9:06pm: There are still five issues at hand for the NFLPA and the NFL to iron out, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The union is hoping to have an update for players within the next 24 hours.
8:56pm: The conference call is ongoing but the sense amongst the NFLPA is still that the proposal isn’t good enough to vote on, Breer tweets.
8:44pm: It doesn’t sound like there will be a vote anytime soon either, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.
8:38pm: NFL player reps will not vote on the new policy tonight, a league source tells Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). The two sides were hung up on the issue of DUI punishment, says Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
Sources tell Albert Breer of the NFL Network (on Twitter) that there were so many issues with the proposal that the NFL put in front of the players tonight that it just wasn’t worth voting on. On top of that, the NFL didn’t get their latest proposal to the NFLPA until very late in the day, Getlin tweets.
10:46am: The NFLPA has informed the player reps that a conference call to discuss the drug policy will be held at 8:00pm central time tonight, reports Breer (via Twitter). According to Breer, that discussion could ultimately result in a vote on the new policy.
10:05am: As we heard last night, the NFLPA’s 32 team player reps are set to vote today on whether or not to accept a new drug policy proposed by the NFL. However, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, that vote isn’t necessarily guaranteed to take place. Florio reports that there’s no tentative agreement in place at this point, and that the NFLPA has asked the league to make a proposal on which the players could decide. If union leadership decides that proposal is worth voting on, then the vote will take place.
As Florio suggests, that “somewhat unorthodox protocol” suggests that the NFLPA’s leadership – including executive director DeMaurice Smith – is facing pressure from players to get something finalized, perhaps because an agreement could mean that several suspended players, such as Josh Gordon and Wes Welker, would have the opportunity to be reinstated. Retroactively evaluating those penalties based on a new drug policy has been one of the key points for a new agreement, and both sides seem to be in agreement on that issue.
However, as Albert Breer of the NFL Network writes, the two sides remain apart on some issues, most notably how to handle DUI arrests. According to Breer, who hears that the DUI issue is “by far” the biggest sticking point, the players are unlikely to approve any proposal which involves immediate suspensions upon a DUI arrest, without due process. A one-game deactivation without pay upon a DUI arrest seems like the most logical compromise.
Still, while the DUI rules need to be ironed out, there is agreement in many other areas, per Breer. A few other terms that could be part of the new agreement are as follows:
- An increased threshold for positive marijuana tests.
- Offseason positive tests for amphetamines falling under the substance of abuse policy rather than the performance enhancing drug policy.
- Immediate implementation of HGH testing.