Upshaw: Link to probe not enough for suspension
ESPN.com news services
If NFL players' names emerge from the online pharmacy steroid case, Gene Upshaw told The Charlotte Observer that he won't endorse suspensions unless the players test positive for a banned substance.
"WADA can say whatever they like; the players in the NFL have both a union and a collective bargaining agreement." -- Gene Upshaw in an e-mail to Charlotte Observer
"We are not going to get into a witch hunt," Upshaw, the NFLPA's executive director, told the newspaper in an e-mail.
Upshaw was responding to World Anti-Doping Agency chairman Dick Pound's assertion that the NFL should "absolutely" discipline any players who are linked to the case if the evidence is reliable, regardless of test results.
"We will not let WADA determine how we operate our program," Upshaw said in the e-mail to The Observer. "We discipline only for a positive test.
"WADA can say whatever they like; the players in the NFL have both a union and a collective bargaining agreement."
Pound fired back at Upshaw in an e-mail to the Observer.
"If he wanted his sport and the NFL to be drug-free, he would not say that," Pound said in the e-mail to the newspaper. "It's an either-or situation: Either he wants drug-free football or he does not."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told The Observer that the NFL "will consider evidence outside of" test results for suspensions.
However, the league and the players' association would have to agree to changes to the drug policy before the league could discipline players without positive test results or convictions or admission of guilt of NFL players.