The suspension of Dallas Cowboys starting right tackle La’el Collins has been a bit of a mystery, but new details were revealed as to why the offensive lineman was hit with a steep penalty. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Collins attempted to bribe the test collector which resulted in the five-game suspension.
“Dallas Cowboys right tackle La’el Collins was suspended by the NFL after trying to bribe the league’s drug-test collector, sources told ESPN,” Schefter detailed. “Players cannot be suspended for positive marijuana tests under the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, but Collins’ issue was multiple missed tests and also trying to bribe the test collector, according to sources.”
Collins’ suspension was initially reported as a violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. It was later revealed that Collins’ suspension was tied to missed drug tests, but Schefter’s report shows new details about the reason for the NFL’s heavy-handedness with the key Cowboys player.
The NFL Was Prepared to Reduce Collins’ Suspension to 2 Games: Report
Schefter reported that the NFL was prepared to reduce Collins’ suspension to two games before an arbitrator ruled that the original five-game penalty should stand based on the evidence. Collins is attempting to appeal the arbitrator’s decision, but the five-game suspension is not expected to be reduced, per Schefter.
“The NFL initially was preparing to suspend Collins five games for his actions, but the NFL Players Association — aware of the intended five-game suspension — helped negotiate a reduction to what would have been a two-game ban,” Schefter added. “Collins, however, appealed the suspension, and the appeal was heard by an arbitrator appointed jointly by both the league and the NFLPA. The arbitrator not only rejected Collins’ appeal, but ruled that based on the evidence, the suspension should be increased back to the original five games. Collins’ lawyer currently is attempting an appeal of the arbitrator’s decision, but league sources believe the suspension, which was announced Sept. 10, will not be reduced.”
Collins Representatives Called out the NFL for ‘Trampling on Mr. Collins Rights’
Collins’ representatives aggressively called out the NFL after news broke of Collins’ suspension on September 10. The statement noted that the NFL was “trampling on Mr. Collins right” and described the league’s handling of the suspension as “appalling.”
“We are extremely disappointed in how the NFL has handled this entire matter, from trampling on Mr. Collins’ rights to prematurely releasing the information, knowing a timely appeal was filed, to intentionally misleading the court at the hearing,” the statement read, per The Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken. “The extent and effort the NFL went to accomplish its ends is appalling.”
During an interview with Dallas’ 105.3 The Fan, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones described Collins’ suspension as “very convoluted.” Jones implied that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could intervene in the suspension ruling if he chose to do so.
“There’s not a process here,” Jones noted on September 14. “He’s suspended as we speak. He won’t play Sunday. The process doesn’t have a length to it at all. As of right now, he’s living with the adjudication of five games.”