Tags: nfl | al jazeera | report | interviews | suspension | manning

NFL's Al Jazeera Report Probe Says It's Player Interviews or Suspension

Image: NFL's Al Jazeera Report Probe Says It's Player Interviews or Suspension

(L-R) James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Inside linebacker Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers (Rob Carr/Getty Images); Julius Peppers #56 of the Green Bay Packers (Christian Petersen/Getty Images); Mike Neal (NFL via Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 17 Aug 2016 07:10 AM

The NFL announced it will suspend four players at the center of a performance-enhancing drug scandal revealed by an Al Jazeera report if they don't provide interviews to the league.

Suspensions of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, and free-agent linebacker Mike Neal will commence Aug. 26 if they don't cooperate, USA Today reported, citing a letter sent Monday from NFL senior vice president of labor policy and league affairs Adolpho Birch to the NFL Players Association.

The players also face possible discipline under the league's drug policies.

Previously, allegations that the four were linked to performance-enhancing drugs were raised in the Al Jazeera America documentary "The Dark Side." They submitted affidavits in July, but Birch asserts that interviews are necessary because the statements lack details and Neal's statement included "an assertion that is demonstrably false," USA Today reported. Neal, who was suspended in 2012 for an infraction, said in his statement that he never violated the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He later corrected his statement.

Complicating the issue is that the hidden-camera footage possibly implicating the players was later recanted by the source, Charlie Sly, who worked at an anti-aging clinic.

The players' possible suspension would be ended at the discretion of Commissioner Roger Goodell at the close of an investigation, The Associated Press reported.

The issue raises tensions between the NFL and the players union, which claims that players shouldn't be subjected to interviews without "credible evidence," the AP said.

"Neither the CBA nor the policy state that a player must agree to an in-person interview based upon random, baseless verbal remarks or face discipline for a failure to cooperate with a league investigation," union attorney Heather McPhee wrote in July on Harrison's behalf.

The NFL closed its investigation of retired quarterback Peyton Manning, who also was implicated in the documentary but provided interviews, the AP said.

Manning was cleared after the league said it “found no credible evidence" that he had received or taken prohibited substances, The New York Times reported.

A suspension of players based on noncompliance with the investigation would "represent a dramatic expansion of the commissioner’s powers to penalize players," the Times noted.

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The NFL announced it will suspend four players at the center of a performance-enhancing drug scandal revealed by an Al Jazeera report if they don't provide interviews to the league.
nfl, al jazeera, report, interviews, suspension, manning
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2016-10-17
Wednesday, 17 Aug 2016 07:10 AM
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