Von Miller’s Fiasco
After a complete shellacking loss against the Seattle Seahawks, Bronco fans began to grow impatient for their W’s to start up again. They may just have to wait a bit longer.
Former Defensive Rookie of the Year and cornerstone of the Denver Broncos, linebacker Von Miller has been suspended for at least six games due to testing positive for substance abuse.
To clear up any misconceptions, a positive test or the equivalent of are the following
- a specimen containing a prohibited substance above levels stated in the Policy.
- Failure or refusal to appear for required testing.
- Failure to cooperate fully with a testing.
- Providing a dilute specimen under circumstances set forth in the Policy
- Engaging in a deliberate effort to substitute or adulterate a specimen or a test result or engage in prohibited doping methods.
The NFL has a program known as Three Intervention Stages for players who have experienced with substance abuse during their career.
Players can enter Stage One of the Intervention Program if they: (1) Have a positive test or the equivalent thereof; (2) exhibit behavior exhibiting physical, behavioral or psychological signs or symptoms of misuse of substances of abuse; or (3) refer themselves to the program.
What happens during the Three Intervention Stages?
He is evaluated by medical personnel to determine whether he requires an appropriate clinical treatment plan or whether he should be dismissed from the Intervention Program (only applicable to behavior admissions). If he is not required to have a treatment plan, then he will be subject to testing only. Lasts generally 90 days. No suspension occurs in stage one. He will lose 3/17th of their salary.
A player will advance to Stage Two after 90 Days without a positive test or after a violation.
In Stage Two, he must comply with his Treatment Plan, if he has one. Also he is subject to unannounced testing up to 10 times per month. He also will be subject to further medical evaluation. Lasts 24 months or 2 full seasons, whichever is shorter from entry into Stage Two or from a violation.
An athlete will only advance to Stage Three after TWO Violations. If they successfully complete 24 months or two seasons, whichever occurs first, without a positive test, they are out of the program.
He will be advanced to Stage Three if he has two positive tests, two other violations of his Treatment Plan or the Policy, or combination of both. He must comply with his Treatment Plan and will be tested up to 10 times per month. Lasts the remainder of his career.
If he tests positive during the stages, he will be punished from the league. The punishments differ though, they depend on which stage he is in and which stage he received his First Violation in.
If his First Violation in the Intervention program takes place during Stage One, He won’t get suspended, but will lose 3/17th of his salary. After receiving his first violation, he will be moved into Stage Two automatically.
If his First Violation is during Stage Two, the punishment isn’t a suspension but a fine equivalent to 4 games.
(Remember, players can successfully complete Stage One by not testing positive for 90 days)
If he tests positive during Stage One, then tested positive again during Stage Two, he will be subject to a four game suspension while losing the initial 3/17th salary from his first violation.
If both of his violations occur within Stage Two, then he will be fined for his salary over the duration of four games and suspended for six games.
Players are automatically subject to Stage Three after two violations.
Stage Three lasts for their entire career, involves 10 drug tests a month for the remainder of their career. One more violation results in a banishment from the NFL. (Suspended for one year)
What we know about Von Miller
- Von tested positive for Amphetamines and Marijuana during 2011, his rookie year in the league.
- That means that he is currently in the Intervention Program.
- Reports are that he is suspended for “at least 6 games”
- The only way that would work is if he received both of his violations during Stage Two.
- Von Miller is automatically in Stage Three, which means he will be tested 10 times every month, for the rest of his career. And any positive test, will suspend him for a season.
The question now is whether he is getting suspended for six games due to two violations during the Second Stage or if he was initially suspended for four games (which would mean he tested positive once during Stage One and once during Stage Two) and Roger Goodell is tacking on a 2-game suspension for his “diluted urine sample” Von submitted after he “dropped” his original sample.
It has been widely known that if the NFL discovers evidence of tampering or diluting the specimen, then the punishment will be more severe than a normal positive test.
With that being said, there is still a possibility that both of his violations were during the Second Stage and that his punishment may last longer than 6 games!
In fact, Albert Breer from NFL Network reported “The NFL could’ve positioned itself to levy an eight- or even a 16-game suspension in this case, but talks began before things got to that stage, once Miller learned, according to one source, that he was ‘in a little more trouble than expected.’ Miller was believed to have some leverage early on, due to a breach of confidentiality.”
It’s a frightening thought for Bronco fans. With injuries to their defense already, losing Von Miller is definitely not what they need.
One thing can be said for sure, when this season is over and a new Super Bowl Champion is crowned, if it’s the Denver Broncos the majority of NFL fans will forget about this suspension. However, if the Broncos don’t win the Super Bowl, the blame will always come back to the absence of Von Miller.
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Sources: National Football League Policy and Program For Substances of Abuse 2010, 2012 League Policies For Players, 2011 League Policies For Players (synopsis)