NFLPA Files CBA Violation Grievance Over The League’s Usage of Painkillers

Roger Goodell - Image via Forbes

Last month, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) reportedly filed a grievance against the NFL. The NFLPA’s grievance claimed the league violated the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) based on their distribution of prescription painkillers to players.

The CBA, which was signed by the NFLPA in 2011 – requires league doctors to follow “all federal, state and ethical guidelines” when distributing prescription painkillers. However, the association claims the “NFL and its member clubs have continuously, egregiously disregarded” those standards.

In March, Washington Post’s Rick Maese reported that court documents claimed that there were, “multiple instances in which team and league officials were made aware of abuses, record-keeping problems and even violations of federal law and were either slow in responding or failed to comply.”

Earlier this week, Sheilla Dingus of Advocacy for Fairness in Sports noted that the grievance cites a violation of CBA Article 39 and Article 2, which focuses on “non-compliance with federal law and ethical guidelines” related to the “administration of federally scheduled drugs and painkillers.”

 Grievance – Image via Sheilla Dingus

Many former NFL players, since retiring, have spoken out on the league’s usage of painkillers. Many former players have become addicted to painkillers either during their career, after, or both.

ESPN’s Marcellus Wiley played 10 season’s in the NFL. Wiley talked with Vice Sports about how players trusted the doctors because they believed they had their best interest in mind. Wiley was given the painkiller Toradol after an injury he had suffered.

However, Wiley has suffered from Asthma all his life. People with Asthma should not take Toradol, but his doctor prescribed the painkillers to Wiley anyway.


Wiley is just one of many former NFL players who has had issues with the league’s distribution of painkillers. A group of former players called the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition is advocating the league to start using medical marijuana as an alternative pain medication.

The group claims marijuana is a “safer and more effective treatment” than prescription painkillers. With the country becoming less concerned with marijuana as they learn more about it, is it time for the NFL to start doing their own research?

At this point, anything would help. Prescription painkillers have caused many people to become addicted and reliant on their effects. The league definitely needs to work to find a safer way to treat their players dealing with injuries. You would think that would be priority number one, because with no players – there’s no league.

What do you think the NFL should do? Is medicinal marijuana a good alternative? Leave your comments below.


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