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NFL, NFLPA revise training-camp drug testing due to COVID-19

Mike Florio explains that NFL referees may have more incentive to opt out of the 2020 season because they are not full-time employees.

With one type of test sample being collected from all players on a daily basis (at least for now), another type of sample has not been collected, yet.

Under the 2020 labor deal, the window for preseason testing pursuant to the substance-abuse policy shifted to the first two weeks of training camp. One full week into camp, however, the process hasn’t even begun.

The NFL Players Association has informed all players that the window for annual substance-abuse testing has moved to the period of August 7 through August 17, due to the inability of the league to complete the collection process. As a practical matter, this gives players even more time to allow any evidence of recent marijuana use to exit the system. However, it also delays the point at which players can begin using again, if they are so inclined.

The new labor deal removes suspensions for positive tests. However, players can still be fined significant amounts of money for testing positive. They also can be placed in the program, which entails more frequent testing.

For players who aren’t in the program, providing one clean sample during the annual preseason test allows them to use marijuana as much as they want, especially in jurisdictions where it is legal.

The league and union also have agreed that only one sample will be collected during camp for testing under both the substance-abuse policy and the PED policy.