The NFL`s EPR rules may seem strict, but it`s in the interest of professional football and everyone associated with it. The rules apply to players, coaches, athletic coaches and agents who work with the NFL. One of these sets of rules concerns the use of performance-enhancing drugs, also known as the EPR policy. If someone feels unfairly punished by the harsh rules, they can turn to the NFL commissioner. Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, points out that even though the NFL conducts a high number of doping tests per year — about more than 12,000 — the league`s anti-doping policy isn`t as good as it could be if it really wanted to recognize the true extent of PED use in sport. For one, he said the NFL`s program is better than many others that follow the rules of the independent World Anti-Doping Agency. In order to provide players and spectators with fair play, the NFL sets rules. The PED rules don`t just apply to players who use steroids, growth hormones and stimulants purchased online. The regulations also prohibit coaches, coaches and officers from providing or encouraging athletes to use prohibited substances. Note that marijuana and alcohol are exempt from the performance-enhancing drug rules and fall under the NFL`s Recreational Drug Policy (RDP).
The league changed the latter in March 2020 due to the legalization of cannabis in various states and its potential benefits for pain relief and recovery. „It`s pretty black and white,“ Freeman recently told USA TODAY Sports. „Rules are rules.“ The performance-enhancing drug policy is a joint effort of the National Football League Board of Management and the NFL Players` Association (NFLPA). First-time offenders must participate in the NFL`s drug program. Suspensions make up only about 1% or less of all NFL players per year. But Yesalis has long suspected that the actual use of PED is much larger, similar to cycling, where approved doping agents avoided testing positive for drugs. „Only careless and stupid people get caught,“ he said. We will tell you what the policy is and how players are penalized in case of violation.
„Given the violent nature of the sport, the short-term careers of its athletes, and the money that can be made, the NFL should have the best independent anti-doping program in the world,“ Tygart told USA TODAY Sports. „Unfortunately, it`s hard to argue that they do.“ The BALCO scandal in 2003 also exposed many steroid users in the NFL. The scandal follows a U.S. federal government investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) into allegations of supplying anabolic steroids to professional athletes.  American sprint coach Trevor Graham had made an anonymous call to the United States. The USADA Anti-Doping Agency accused a number of athletes in June 2003 of being involved in doping with a steroid that was undetectable at the time. He named BALCO owner Victor Conte as the source of the steroid. As evidence, Graham provided a syringe with traces of a substance nicknamed The Clear.
Due to the legalization of marijuana in various states, the league has adapted its RDP policy to changing times. Please note the following important updates on off-season testing for performance-enhancing substances and substance abuse. A number of Oakland Raiders players have been implicated in the scandal, including Bill Romanowski, Tyrone Wheatley, Barrett Robbins, Chris Cooper and Dana Stubblefield.  Recently, many gamblers have confessed to steroid use. One of those players was former Oakland Raiders player Bill Romanowski. Romanowski confessed on 60 Minutes to having used steroids for two years starting in 2001.  He explained that these were provided by former NFL player and former BALCO boss Victor Conte, saying, „The players want this policy just like the league,“ said Jodi Balsam, a professor at Brooklyn Law School who led litigation for the NFL. It was negotiated with great care and depth. The EPR policy is in effect because the league finds that they threaten the fairness and integrity of the game because not everyone is willing to use them and it can give users a physical advantage. He`s right.
Viewers didn`t even seem to care if a player recently suspended as part of the league`s drug policy helped the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers in last month`s playoffs with a blocked punt in the fourth quarter. The motive for the use of such drugs can be strong for players looking for an advantage in a violent game where millions of dollars are at stake. Former NFL quarterback Brady Quinn suggested in a CBS podcast in 2015 that for a player earning $1 million per game, the risk of a four-game suspension for PEDs doesn`t compare to the potential rewards that might come with them, such as a larger payout later. When it comes to performance-enhancing drugs; The provision, use or promotion of use is prohibited. The NFL began testing players for human growth hormone in 2014, but didn`t catch players who used it in its first year, and it`s unclear how many have been caught since. In 2017, then-NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart confirmed that players had tested positive and been suspended for HGH, but he said the players` union was preventing the league from going into details. The policy states that all players will be tested during the regular season, playoffs and offseason.  The policies of the 1990s were different from what they are today, due to fierce criticism from the U.S. government.
 Originally, there were specific guidelines for when the player was taken with a steroid or other performance-enhancing drug. If a player was caught with steroids during training camp or other off-season training, they were suspended for a first offense for 30 days.  Typically, that would mean missing four games, three in preseason and one in the regular season. Players would then be tested for performance-enhancing drugs and steroids throughout the year. A player who tests positive in a previous test may or may not be included in the next random sample.  A player who tested positive again was banned for a year, and a suspension for a third offence was never set because it never happened.  Later, when many players ignored the policy, NFLPA director Gene Upshaw sent a letter to all NFL players saying: Another answer to the question „What is DEP`s policy?“ is that it aims to prevent the spread of the use of prohibited substances. The governing bodies do not approve of players using banned drugs to send the wrong message to young NFL athletes. The number of players who admitted to using steroids in a confidential NCAA survey since the 1980s has dropped from 9.7 percent in 1989 to 3.0 percent in 2003.  During the 2003 season, there were over 7,000 drug tests, of which only 77 were positive.  Scukanec claims that methods have been used to circumvent drug testing, whether it`s avoiding testing by using drugs during the off-season or eliminating drugs from your system.
This was used with a liquid he called „pink.“  He stated: The NFL Commissioner has a duty to the integrity of the game and public confidence in it, including the power to prohibit the use of substances in the EPD policy.