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NFL-NFLPA dynamic delaying investigation of Al Jazeera report


It’s been nearly six months since Al Jazeera and the NFL intersected in a way far less natural than peanut butter and chocolate. The league office still hasn’t taken officially buried its teeth into the ensuing concoction.

Via Emily Kaplan of, the NFL blames stalled efforts to interview players implicated by the PED report on the NFL Players Association.

We have pushed to do them sooner,” NFL P.R. chief Joe Lockhart told Kaplan. “[The union has] articulated some reasons why they can’t be done right away.”

Lockhart said that the league has been ready to conduct interviews for “some time,” and that they hope to do the interviews before training camps open.

“[I]f we have to, we’ll do them during training camp,” Lockhart said.

The report allegedly tied Peyton Manning, James Harrison, Clay Matthews, Mike Neal, and Julius Peppers to PEDs. Neal, an unsigned free agent, told Kaplan that he wants to move things along, because he believes the uncertainty has influenced his status “heavily, heavily, heavily, heavily, heavily.”

Manning, in theory, could tell the NFL to pound salt (or sand -- I never remember which one it is) given that he is retired. However, if he aspires to run a team at some point, it makes sense to find a way to cooperate. Full cooperation would consist, however, of giving the league appropriate documentation that would allow the league office to obtain all information from the Guyer Institute regarding treatment and medications provided to Manning. Records regarding his wife would also be relevant, given the allegation that HGH meant for him was shipped to her.

Full cooperation would be very problematic if there’s any truth to the allegations. And Manning could potentially be suspended from his next NFL job as a team executive, if the NFL learns of a PED violation during his playing career. The league office previously has declined to comment on this possibility.

Regardless of how it plays out, the lack of activity since the report surfaced suggests that plenty of people want the whole thing to just go away.