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On Monday night, Cowboys offensive lineman La'el Collins will miss the second of five games arising from a suspension under the substance-abuse policy. Based on a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Collins had a chance to make the Week Three game against the Eagles the final game of the suspension.
In an article that focuses on the contention that Collins tried to bribe sample collectors (more on that in a minute), Schefter writes that the NFL Players Association had negotiated with the league a reduction in the proposed suspension from five games to two games. Collins declined the offer, and then an arbitrator ruled against him, making it a five-game suspension.
The mere fact that the league would have agreed to reduce the suspension by 60 percent shows that the league had concerns regarding the strength of its position. Ultimately, the arbitrator bought the league’s arguments. Agent Peter Schaffer, who was hired by Collins to assist with the appeal, previously issued a statement blasting the league’s methods.
“We are extremely disappointed in how the NFL has handled this entire matter from trampling on Mr. Collins rights to prematurely releasing the information knowing a timely appeal was filed to intentionally misleading the court at the hearing,” Schaffer said on September 10. “The extent and effort the NFL went to to accomplish its ends is appalling.”
Schaffer has not yet responded to a request for comment as to the latest report. When he does, we’ve got a feeling that the word “appalling” will make another appearance, possibly along with something stronger.
The substance-abuse policy, as revised in 2020, does not allow suspensions for positive marijuana tests. However, suspensions are permitted for “failure to cooperate with testing or clinical care.” Initial reports regarding the suspension characterized the violation as a “failure to appear” for testing; the notion that Collins allegedly tried to bribe the collector may be an effort to transform a “failure to appear” into a “failure to cooperate with testing or clinical care.”
Schaffer filed a separate appeal following the arbitrator’s ruling, but it did not block the commencement of the suspension. If the appeal succeeds, Collins would most likely receive his lost pay from the missed games.
Report: La’el Collins allegedly tried to bribe sample collectors originally appeared on Pro Football Talk