The Packers may be resting easier this week, after the news that the NFL cleared Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers in its probe into performance enhancing drug use.
In December 2015, the Al Jazeera America Network specifically named both players in a documentary alleging the use of performance enhancing drugs. The documentary also named Pittsburgh Steelers D-man James Harrison and former Packer but now free agent Mike Neal as other alleged users.
Al Jazeera named the documentary “The Dark Side– the secret world of sports doping.”
The documentary offers little in the way of proof. Most of its evidence came from a young intern who was secretly filmed. This intern recanted his story before this documentary aired. There is no paper trail. There is no timeline. There’s not much backing up these claims.
Instead of defending its players against these baseless charges, the NFL decided to go on the offensive. The NFL sent its players’ union threatening letters demanding interviews with Matthews, Peppers, Harrison and Neal, and threatened to suspend the players if they do not cooperate fully with an investigation.
If they had done nothing wrong, then what is the problem with sitting down and having a chat with the NFL?
Well, the NFL has not been transparent with its investigations of players. Recently, players are more likely to be disciplined for their conduct DURING the investigation than for any of the alleged behavior that inspired the investigation in the first place.
Just look at New England Quarterback Tom Brady. Brady is serving a four game suspension due to the deflategate debacle. The NFL determined Brady “more likely than not” was involved in a scheme to deflate footballs in a playoff game. The NFL’s final report did not have direct and verified evidence that Brady was involved.
Instead, Brady was punished for not cooperating with the investigation. The NFL says he did not provide cell phones and other possible documentation that investigators were convinced he had. The lack of evidence was cited as proof of wrongdoing.