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NFLPA demands “credible evidence” of PED violation by Harrison, Matthews, Peppers, Neal

Mike Florio weighs in on the ongoing battle between the NFL and the NFLPA on the Al Jazeera PED reports.

The dance continues between the NFL and the NFL Players Association regarding the Al Jazeera PED allegations, and at this point it’s becoming a mosh pit.

The NFL Players Association has sent a letter to the NFL on behalf of Steelers linebacker James Harrison, in which the union reiterates its request “that the NFL inform him and the NFLPA whether the NFL possesses any credible evidence (e.g., verified documents or verified testimony of witnesses) that warrants an interview of Mr. Harrison regarding a potential violation” of the PED policy.

Although the letter doesn’t expressly take the position that Harrison has no obligation to cooperate until the NFL disciplines him based on “credible evidence” of a violation, the message is clear: Harrison apparently won’t be doing anything unless and until the NFL produces “credible evidence” beyond the remarks contained in the Al Jazeera report.

“Especially in a business where the mere mention of a player-employee’s name can generate ratings for a broadcaster, the NFLPA and Mr. Harrison do not believe that unsupported, unsubstantiated verbal remarks provide ‘sufficient credible evidence’ to initiate an investigation of, and require an interview with, an employee.”

The letter, a copy of which PFT has obtained, mentions only Harrison. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the same letter was sent on behalf of all other active players implicated by the Al Jazeera report: Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and Mike Neal.

The PED policy seems to contemplate that the player accused of a PED violation won’t be required to provide information until discipline is imposed based on “credible documented evidence” that the rules were broken. The NFLPA apparently is willing to entertain the possibility of a pre-discipline interview if -- and only if -- the NFL puts the same cards on the table that would be placed on the table if discipline is imposed and the appeal process commences.