Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Bucs’ drug test of Mike Williams raises questions under substance-abuse policy

Mike Williams

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams (19) celebrates after scoring on an 8-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Josh Freeman against the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)


In a move that could raise more questions than it answers, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Williams passed a team-implemented urine test after he was released from jail following a Friday arrest for suspicion of DUI. The information was conveyed to Schefter by Bucs G.M. Mark Dominik.

Williams also submitted to a urine test administered by the authorities.

But here’s the difference. The authorities have the authority to request urine testing. Individual NFL teams generally don’t.

The league’s substance-abuse policy outlines the situations in which test for recreational drugs may occur. Generally, any testing of players is conducted under the supervision of the league’s Medical Advisor. Although the policy permits a player to agree individually with the team as part of his player contract to be subject to unannounced testing if a reasonable basis for testing exists, a Buccaneers official tells PFT that no such agreement was in place between Williams and the Buccaneers.

Instead, the Bucs officials said that Williams initiated the process by requesting an opportunity to exonerate himself, and the two sides agreed that a privately-imposed test would result in quicker results than the test conducted by law enforcement. The Buccaneers then arranged for the testing to occur at a local, impartial facility, which screened Williams’ sample for marijuana and all other substances that fall within the scope of such testing.

Though the testing did not occur under the auspices of the substance-abuse policy, the mere disclosure of the result by the team potentially violates the confidentiality provisions of the policy. Again, the fact that the testing occurred beyond the confines of the policy could make the confidentiality provision of the policy irrelevant.

We’ve requested comment from the league and the NFLPA on this matter. Stay tuned.