NFL training camps currently are set to open on July 28, in 19 days. The NFL Players Association has reminded players that, when they show up, they are subject to unannounced drug testing.
The new labor deal moved the opening of the window for annual substance-abuse testing from April 20 (yes, 4/20) to the launch of camp.
“You must be prepared to drug test as soon as camp opens,” the NFLPA said in an email to all players. “As in years past, testing is unannounced and will happen in groups. You won’t know the date of the test. You may be tested when you walk through the door, or you may be tested two weeks after camp begins.”
Translation: If you haven’t already stopped smoking, stop smoking now.
Although suspensions for positive tests no longer will be imposed, fines may still be imposed. They can become significant based on the number of violations.
The better approach would be to drop the insistence on policing the private lives of players when it comes to marijuana use. Maybe, by the time the current labor deal expires in 2020, the federal government will have removed marijuana from the list of controlled substances, making it virtually impossible for the NFL to continue to insist on prohibiting its use and punishing those who do it.