Saints Vote Not to Submit to Year-End Drug Testing

Players on the New Orleans Saints have voted unanimously not to submit to drug testing when National Football League team members take their year-end physicals Monday.

"It's a matter of legal interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement," Saint player representative Hoby Brenner said. "There's a real gray area about the end-of-the-year physical. The policy here the last four years has been just orthopedic examinations at the end of the year."

Most members of the St. Louis Cardinals also refused to submit to the test when they took physicals last week. Those who refused were fined $1,000 each.

Brenner said he warned his Saint teammates to expect similar fines. But he said that all teams would seek legal recourse.

Interim Saint Coach Wade Phillips said his players aren't against the test in principle.

"To me, it's a legal issue," Phillips said. "Somebody, either a judge or a labor relations board, needs to rule on this thing."

Nonetheless, Saint owner Tom Benson has ordered physicals and drug testing for all members of the organization--from front office to secretaries.

The NFL Players Assn. contends that drug testing at the end of the year is prohibited by the collective bargaining agreement. However, the NFL Management Council, the owners' bargaining unit, said that in its interpretation, clubs are within their rights to test.

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