In this morning’s post about ex-Nittany Lion Tamba Hali’s punishment for an unstated violation of the NFL substance policy, for which he was suspended one game and docked one more game’s pay, we assumed that the league’s failure to divulge details meant that the Kansas City Chiefs’ All-Pro pass rusher smoked a joint and tested positive.
That turns out not to be true, at least the drug testing part of it, because the NFL substance-abuse policy specifies either a four-game or a one-year suspension in the circumstance of a failed test. Hali didn’t get that strict a sentence.
So, what’s going on here?
Turns out that the league office has given up a little more precious information. The one-game suspension is purportedly because of a violation of the law that was previously unreported and undisclosed.
So, Hali must have been arrested at some point in the past, and the arrest must have been related to a “substance,” which could be alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, performance enhancers, or anything else that is illegal. Whatever it was, whenever it was, everybody kept their big mouths shut, as today was the first the ever-nosy sports media even heard of such a thing.
ProFootballTalk claims to have a knowledgeable source that the offense likely involved marijuana, possibly, maybe, perhaps, allegedly. We have nothing official from anyone, though. Mum’s the word.
I guess there’s a bit of a loophole in the NFL substance abuse policy. If the league catches a player in violation, he gets either four games or a year. If the law catches a player using, then his team can tell the league later about the arrest and lose the guy for only a single game, although the policy apparently provides for up to four.
Confusing as hell, isn’t it? Well, go read it for yourself.
If I’m reading it correctly, the NFL better review the policy and fix it.