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NFLPA issues statement on DeAndre Hopkins’ suspension that disputes NFL Network reporting

Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins has his fingers crossed that his PED-related suspension might be reduced, but Mike Florio explains why it's very unlikely to happen.

The NFL’s PED policy includes language allowing the league to comment on a player’s suspension in order to “correct inaccurate public claims made by that Player or his representatives about the operation of the Policy, discipline, underlying facts or appeals process.”

On Tuesday, the NFL Players Association commented on a recent suspension in order to correct an inaccurate public claim from the NFL.

“On May 2, 2022, the NFL Network reported that DeAndre Hopkins’ suspension came after producing a positive test result for a ‘prohibited substance plus a diuretic or masking agent/attempt to substitute, dilute or adulterate a specimen/attempt to manipulate a test result,’” the union said in a statement. “This reporting was incorrect as Hopkins never tested positive for any diuretic or masking agent and there was absolutely no evidence of any attempt to substitute, dilute, or adulterate any specimen or any attempt to manipulate a test. Pursuant to the 2022 Policy, his discipline is consistent with producing a positive test result for a prohibited substance.”

Hopkins has said that he did not knowingly take a PED. That’s one of the flaws in the process. Because it imposes strict liability on any player who has a banned substance in his system, every player can claim that he didn’t cheat on purpose. As a result, every player who makes that claim is viewed skeptically.

Especially since nearly every player who tests positive does. If they’re all telling the truth, it means that the PED is only partially working. It’s only catching the guys who accidentally took PEDs, and none of those who meant to.