NFL Union to Reject Unilateral Drug Plan
Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the National Football League Players Assn., said Wednesday he will urge players individually to refuse to submit to random drug testing if Commissioner Pete Rozelle unilaterally implements such a program.
Upshaw, interviewed by United Press International, denied that Rozelle’s program could cause a player strike, contradicting a report published Wednesday in the Washington Post.
“I do not advocate a strike,” Upshaw said. “I said we were on a collision course because Rozelle says, ‘It’s my way or no way,’ ” Upshaw said.
Upshaw said the union does not have the right to strike over the issue under the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement with management, which will expire at the end of next season.
Rozelle said during league meetings March 11 in Rancho Mirage, Calif., that if the union does not approve his plan for random testing of all players, he will impose it anyway. The commissioner contended that illegal drug use among players has become a significant threat to the financial stability of the league.
Upshaw said that the union will not accept spot-check testing of players for drug use.
The collective bargaining agreement currently permits drug testing only during the annual preseason physicals given by each team and at other times when a team doctor cites “reasonable cause” to suspect drug use.