Brandon Browner has filed a 2nd appeal to his 'indefinite' suspension from the NFL following the denial of his first appeal on Wednesday, per reports. Browner and his agent will seek to drastically reduce the likely one-year ban from the NFL (which stems from a test that found small traces of marijuana in his system, per CBS's Jason La Canfora), and failing that, will sue the NFL in federal court.
Browner maintains he never received notification that he was needed for drug testing while playing for the CFL in Calgary. Per La Canfora:
[Browner's agent, Peter] Schaffer also took issue with a more recent NFL Network report that stated the media entity had obtained proof that Browner had received past notification of his need to take NFL-mandated drug tests because they were sent to Browner's mother (Browner has contested, sources said, that in fact the address the NFL had for him back when he entered the league as an undrafted free agent was for an old girlfriend with whom he long ago lost contact).
"This shows how out of touch the NFL is with its former players, especially its undrafted free agents," Schaffer said. "To sit there and say we sent a letter to his mother's address so therefore he got it -- are you kidding me?
"This guy just got cut. There's no proof he got any of this mail. When these guys get cut they go anywhere they can. They live in a friend's basement, or whatever. These are kids right out of college; they've never made any money. You go wherever you have to go. Come on, you're collecting unemployment at this point, and they said they sent a letter to his mom's house so he must have got it."
"This decision shows how skewed and screwed up the NFL appeals process is," Schaffer said. "One would think the NFL would hold itself to the most fundamental standards of due process and fairness and equity, and would place the mental health and recovery of its players above all else, but this decision is an absolute disgrace to all those worthy concepts."
As Fox's Mike Garafolo points out, Schaffer was very unhappy with the arbitration process, not just the result. First of all, per Schaffer, the fact that Browner may have been incorrectly placed into Phase 3 of the NFL's Drug Program seemed to bear no weight in the proceedings, and Schaffer said the arbitrator "didn't even mention that in his ruling."
Furthermore, per Garafolo,
Schaffer said the arbitrator only ruled on the testing protocol and did not force the collector to testify.
"There was a discrepancy between Brandon's statement and the collector's, yet the collector didn't have to testify? Where's the fairness there?" Schaffer said.
"It's another example right there that the NFL's arbitration system is a mockery of justice. This ruling is complete and further proof of the bias against players. The NFL is the greatest sports entity of all time, but the league should work to give everyone associated with it complete transparency. Again, they failed."
What a mess.
Not only is Browner appealing his suspension based on the collections process, his placement into Phase 3 of the Drug Program comes into question, as does the NFL-employee reporting on the whole process (several conflicting or erroneous reports were issued at NFL.com, which is staffed by NFL employees). Right now, there is nothing too concrete, but Browner and his team are certainly gearing up to fight this tooth and nail to, at the very least, recover money lost because of what they'll claim were a series of administrative screw-ups by the NFL.