NFL Threatens to Suspend James Harrison, Clay Matthews over Al Jazeera Allegations if They Fail to Interview
Do you remember when now-defunct Al Jazeera America accused a number of professional athletes—most notably Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning—of using performance-enhancing drugs acquired from the Guyer Institute in Indiana?
Charlie Sly, the “insider” at the Institute, admitted he made everything up; Manning threatened to sue, and then the entire American wing of the company went under. Nonetheless, the NFL launched a personal investigation and cleared Manning of any and all wrongdoing.
People seem to forget, however, that there were quite a few others mentioned in the original reports. Julius Peppers, Mike Neal, James Harrison, and Clay Matthews were among those other names. While Manning cooperated fully and cleared his name, the other players have yet to submit to the league’s interview requests which the NFL Players’ Association has asked them not to participate in.
Roger Goodell doesn’t like that. The men now have until August 25 to submit or face indefinite suspension.
“For those players whose interviews do not take place on or before [then], or who fail meaningfully to participate in or otherwise obstruct the interview, their actions will constitute conduct detrimental, and they will be suspended, separate and apart from any possible future determination that they violated the steroid policy,” wrote the league in a letter addressing the matter. “The suspension for each such player will begin on Friday, August 26 and will continue until he has fully participated in an interview with league investigators, after which the Commissioner will determine whether and when the suspension should be lifted.”
In other words, Goodell is f**king pissed. It doesn’t take much. Any news source, legitimate or not, can accuse a player of using PEDs, recant their statements, go defunct, and still land the players in some hot water with the NFL.
The league is also upset with the affidavits submitted by the players in June. The NFL determined these to be “wholly devoid of any detail,” and even said Neal’s statement contain at least one straight up lie.
Neal is a free agent, but the other players have a lot riding on their decision to interview. Especially Matthews and Peppers, who both play for the Green Bay Packers.