The NFL wants to speak with the handful of players named in an Al Jazeera report on performance-enhancing drugs, and it has grown tired of waiting for the accused parties to cooperate. According to multiple reports, the league has threatened to suspend those players, including multiple current or former members of the Green Bay Packers, if they choose not to submit to formal interviews prior to Aug. 25. Commissioner Roger Goodell would determine if and when to lift those suspensions.
The NFLPA has previously contended that sworn affidavits submitted to the NFL earlier this offseason satisfy the requirements of the CBA, though the league feels differently. As such, this stalemate could make its way to the courts if no resolution transpires through the normal channels.
Several of the key targets of the NFL’s probe, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and Mike Neal, either play for the Packers at present or did so prior to this season. The league has also requested face time with Pittsburgh Steelers pass rusher James Harrison. The players were named in the same report that linked retired quarterback Peyton Manning to Charlie Sly, an intern at an anti-aging clinic secretly recorded while making allegations against several professional athletes involving performance-enhancing drugs. Sly has since recanted his claims.
Matthews and Peppers have refrained from public comment on the matter, and Neal has said little since an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel back in March. Harrison, meanwhile, only plans to comply if Goodell comes to his personal residence for the interview.