The National Football League (NFL) has released a proposal that would prevent immediate suspensions of players as a consequence of positive drug testing.
In February, it was rumored that the NFL might make cannabis consumption more widely available for players. Now, an updated version of the agreement confirms that it will cover all illicit substances, according to The Boston Globe. Previously, the NFL has been more stringent of its rules regarding medical or recreational cannabis consumption.
Players have until the end of the day on March 21 to vote on the agreement. If it passes, players would no longer have to worry about suspension or other detrimental consequences. Instead, if they test positive for a drug or are found to be misusing a drug, they would be required to participate in an intervention program. At that point, each player would receive a treatment plan based on their use.
However, there will still be other consequences. If the player still tests positive for drugs after undergoing an intervention, they will endure a one-week salary loss. If it happens a third time, the reaction will result in a two-week salary loss, and so forth. Ultimately, if a player refuses to follow through with this agreement, they will receive a suspension penalty.
“Substance abuse can lead to on-the-field injuries, to alienation of the fans, to diminished job performance, and to personal hardship,” reads the document, according to NBC Sports. “The deaths of several NFL Players have demonstrated the potentially tragic consequences of substance abuse. NFL Players should not by their conduct suggest that substance abuse is either acceptable or safe.”
In this agreement, a positive test for cannabis specifically would be increased from the current 35 nanograms per milliliter threshold to 150 nanograms per milliliter.
If approved by players, this agreement will likely go into effect for the 2020-2021 season.