Steelers linebacker James Harrison was given a random drug test Tuesday by the NFL. When he attempted to record a video of the test, the NFL’s testers said that they would declare Harrison positive for PEDs in spite of no evidence.
UPDATE: May 22
The NFL responded to Harrison’s situation earlier this week, and it’s becoming clear that the NFL front office and the NFL Players’ Association (NFLPA) are not on the same page with the issue.
Per CBS Sports, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith stated that NFL drug test rules “[do] not specifically prohibit the video taping of a drug test”. As the representative union for NFL athletes, the NFLPA believes that players have a right to record the testing procedure. On the other hand, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said that recording a drug test was strictly prohibited in a conversation with ProFootballTalk.
League rules do maintain that a player cannot carry any object or item into the room in which the test is administered, but filming itself is not directly outlawed by NFL rules.
Seems like quite the paradox. This means that Harrison could have recorded the test without punishment, but his recording device would have had to already be inside the testing room, such as a home security camera.
Harrison said that the NFL’s testers threatened to mark his test as a failure if he recorded it. DeMaurice Smith was not happy about this, saying “If drug collectors desire to change the collection rules, they may not do so on their own.”
Only the NFL and NFLPA can authorize different testing protocol. Smith contends that the testers had no right to order Harrison to stop recording.
In the end, Harrison did oblige and take the test. This matter likely will avoid court, but the NFL and the NFLPA now have another issue to wrestle over.
ORIGINAL STORY: May 18
James Harrison documented the affair on Instagram, as league testers abruptly showed up and notified him of the test. In the first clip, Harrison claims “Ryan Willis (one of the testers) says I can’t record this piss test because if I do it will be [counted as] positive.”
Willis would not acknowledge Harrison with the camera rolling, and his partner told James that the test could not take place on video.
In a later video, Harrison says that he contacted DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Player’s Association (NFLPA) about the matter. In that video, Harrison says that Smith has connected him with an NFL “drug policy attorney”.
If his Instagram account is any indication, Harrison will likely be taking legal action against the NFL. Harrison did comply with the test, however, quoting another video with this caption:
Since I heard they fired the last guy who let me record the test, I didn’t record it. I’m not trying to get anyone fired who’s just doing their job.
Harrison’s motives for recording the drug test aren’t known, but his compliance seemingly eliminates doubts of him hiding steroid use. Harrison likely sought to record a video in order to have proof in case of a sketchy test.
Harrison has been administered a number of ‘random’ drug tests in the past, so this occurrence is nothing new. Still, Harrison seemed suspicious of the testers this time and repeatedly questioned their lack of willingness to appear on camera.
If the testers really did threaten to mark James Harrison as testing positive for PEDs even without proof, the NFL could be facing more ugly time in court. Harrison has not provided video evidence of the threat.
Stay with Still Curtain for more on this story as it develops.