What are the odds of the NFL 'randomly' drug-testing Eric Reid 7 times this season?

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

A familiar sight greeted Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid as he walked into the locker room following a 12-9 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

“You have been randomly selected by the NFL drug testing program’s Medical Advisor to complete a urine doping test today,” the small slip of paper informed him.

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According to Reid’s count, that makes seven drug tests for the 27-year-old despite only being a member of the Panthers organization for 11 weeks, which sure seems like a lot of drug tests for a program that is supposed to randomly select a small group of players each week.

Of course, Reid doesn’t seem to think they’re random.

“I’ve been here 11 weeks, I’ve been drug-tested seven times,” Reid said, per The Riot Report. “That has to be statistically impossible. I’m not a mathematician, but there’s no way that’s random.”

Well, let’s just go ahead and calculate those odds for Reid.

What are the odds of Eric Reid being drug-tested this much?

Let’s go through some numbers that we first dove into when Reid received his fifth drug test of the season. There were 72 players on the Panthers’ roster eligible for drug testing. NFL drug-testing policy dictates that 10 players from each team, supposedly chosen randomly by a computer, are tested each week of the season.

Reid has been with Carolina for 11 weeks and says he has been drug-tested seven times, though one of those would have been his mandatory annual test that is basically part of his physical. That means six positive results out of 11 chances on odds that work out to 72 divided by 10.

Eric Reid sure has been unlucky this season with drug tests. It could also be something else. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
Eric Reid sure has been unlucky this season with drug tests. It could also be something else. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Using a cumulative binomial probability calculator, those numbers work out to a 0.17 percent chance of Reid getting randomly selected at least six times in 11 chances, according to the NFL’s rules. That’s a 1-in-588 chance. Reid would have a better chance at correctly guessing a coin flip nine times in a row.

Considering Reid and the NFL’s relationship, hitting on those odds that often is quite convenient for a league likely looking for any reason to make Reid go away.

Eric Reid and Roger Goodell won’t be exchanging Christmas cards

Why Reid would be the target of a suspiciously high number of drug tests isn’t exactly a mystery. Reid has been Colin Kaepernick’s staunchest advocate among players in the league and has continued to kneel before games this season. That was especially true on Monday, when Reid wore cleats depicting a kneeling Kaepernick.


Reid has also filed a collusion grievance against the NFL after he was met with a frosty free agent market last offseason, a case which is still ongoing even though he eventually signed with the Panthers after the season began. Reid has continued to be outspoken against the league, stating last week that he planned to use three fines he had received from the NFL as evidence in his collusion case.

You can only imagine Reid has similar plans for his experience with the NFL’s drug-testing procedures.

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