NFL Players Association executive director Gene Upshaw reached out to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday to address a leak of information regarding the reported admission by at least three highly regarded players that they smoked marijuana at some point in their lives.
NFLPA spokesman Carl Francis said the union was concerned about what it considered "confidential" information being turned over to the media. Francis indicated that the union would be expecting some type of investigation about how the information was leaked.
Furthermore, the union expressed concern that the league and/or teams would even ask about past use of banned substances given that the players are screened for drug use before entering the league.
Both Pro Football Weekly and NFL.com, the league's website, reported that Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams and Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye admitted to having used marijuana during interviews at the NFL scouting combine in February.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said late Friday afternoon that Goodell had spoken to Upshaw, though he would not elaborate on details of the discussion. However, Aiello did say the NFL is within its legal rights to ask prospects during interviews whether they've used banned substances, but that such an admission isn't grounds for inclusion into the league's substance-abuse program.
None of the three players has ever been known to test positive or get into any legal trouble for using marijuana. As a result, none are considered serious character risks by NFL teams contacted by Yahoo! Sports. In particular, Johnson is considered by many people to be one of the most positive character individuals available in the NFL draft, which will take place April 28-29 in New York City.
All of the players in question also received credit from NFL personnel men for their candor and honesty. The union is concerned that such honesty was turned against them.
"We definitely have concerns about the fact that teams are asking players about their past use of banned substances," Francis said Friday. "Then, to have that confidential information shared publicly is disturbing. The player is expected to give an honest answer and be candid, then it's used against him? That's the problem we have with what's happened here."
The situation is similar to what happened before the 2006 draft, when information about quarterback Vince Young's Wonderlic test score was revealed. Young, now with the Tennessee Titans, had an initial score that was unusually low, which is considered a red flag for quarterbacks. Eventually, a scout from an unnamed NFL team was fired for leaking the information.