To review, a report from Al Jazeera America accused multiple athletes across multiple sports of PED use. he NFL obviously wanted to investigate these claims just in case they had any merit. The Al Jazeera America report was subsequently discredited when the sole source of information linking those athletes to PEDs rescinded his accusations and said he made the whole thing up.
The NFL still wanted to investigate despite arguments from the NFLPA that without any evidence the league had no standing to do so. The NFL threatened to suspend the players named in the report for not cooperating with the investigation. The players were interviewed by the NFL last week and reports indicated that during these interviews the league presented no new evidence linking the players to PEDs.
This afternoon the NFL cleared the players of any wrongdoing because,
“The NFL found no credible evidence that Pittsburgh’s James Harrison and Green Bay’s Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers were provided with or used substances prohibited under the NFL-NFLPA Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances following a comprehensive investigation into allegations made in a documentary by Al Jazeera America.”
The NFL’s investigation, initiated in January, included “witness interviews, a review of relevant records and other materials, electronic research, and laboratory analysis and review”. Presumably these steps to the investigation were concluded prior to interviewing the players. So they interviewed the players, why?
Here is how a conversation between two NFL executives (X and Y) regarding the player interviews must have gone:
X: “I want to bring those players from the Al Jazeera report in for interviews.”
Y: “The NFLPA is not going to like that and will fight us on it.”
X: “We just want to talk to them. Why would they fight us?”
Y: “There is no evidence. The report was discredited.”
X: “What about our investigation?”
Y: “We haven’t found anything new.”
X: “Let’s bring them in anyway.”
Y: “What if they refuse?”
X: “We can threaten to suspend them for not cooperating.”
Y: “Do you think the players will give us anything new and incriminate themselves?”
Y: “Then why coerce them into coming in?”
X: “Because we can.”