Update: NFL Says James Harrison Not Allowed To Film Drug Test

James Harrison

James Harrison is angry. And the NFL shouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

Last night, Harrison took to Instagram, upset that he was not allowed to record during his PED test. At the time, Ryan Willis, the Director of NFL PED Drug Testing, was the man telling him he couldn’t. Now, the league has affirmed that.

From league spokesmen Brian McCarthy via the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

“To maintain the integrity of the protocols and protect against the possibility of manipulation of the process at the time or during future tests, the policy prohibits devices and other objects in the collection area or taking photographs or video of specific collections.” 

McCarthy did go on to point out players are offered other levels of protection, including the player being able to “note and report” any issue they see with their testing process.

The CBA does not explicitly refer to the testing procedure so we are unable to find the exact lanuage, only McCarthy’s quote. At the time the CBA was agreed upon, the procedure to collect and test samples had not been decided. From page 174 of the agreement.


In his Instagram posts, Harrison said that if he refused to stop recording, the test would not be administered and Harrison would have been counted as testing positive.

There is a lot to sort through here but the NFL’s stance that videotaping the process hurts its integrity seems incredibly backwards. If anything, it provides more clarity and evidence, giving the player his own “paper trail” to help dispute any issues, or just to make known how the NFL’s process works and the possible flaws it may have.

Harrison took to Instagram today, clarifying his stance. He ends it with an excellent point.

“If the league can invade our space and interrupt our preseason training with shows like Hard Knocks because it’s interesting behind the scenes content for the fans, why can’t I post this?”

Harrison has made it very clear during his stint with the Cincinnati Bengals, when the team was the Hard Knocks’ subject, that he didn’t like the media attention during camp. So understandably, he’s even more upset when he can’t film his test in his own home. And as Harrison says, he had already filmed one test this year, though that apparently led to that administrator being fired.

For whatever my opinion is worth, let him film the test. There is nothing wrong with creating transparency. This isn’t classified NFL files. And if the league was so set against the idea of the tests being recorded, it should’ve been in the CBA before it was signed off (the Steelers, of course, were the only team to vote against it).

If you’re going to make up rules as you go, ones that clearly could’ve been made beforehand, you lose out on the opportunity for player’s to have their voice heard. The NFL doesn’t need to be a democracy but it should at the very least, be transparent in its systems that directly affect the players.

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