Random? Yes. Targeting or impropriety? No.
That’s the conclusion the NFL and NFLPA reached after a review of Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid’s random drug tests this season. And it’s what Reid expected them to say all along.
Reid has said from the time he signed with the Panthers on Sept. 28 through the end of the regular season he was selected six times for a random performance-enhancing drug screening — a rate he believes is related to his open collusion case against the NFL.
A league source said Reid’s claim to the frequency of his random drug screenings was “inaccurate.” The joint review came to that conclusion when the independent program administrator, Dr. John Lombardo, provided the dates of Reid’s tests, which the source said did not corroborate Reid’s claims.
That league source also confirmed the NFLPA asked the independent administrator to provide a review of his testing process.
The NFL and NFLPA collectively bargained the random drug screening policies for both performance-enhancing drugs and banned substances, with both programs run by the independent administrator, Dr. John Lombardo. A league source said the NFLPA was concerned a policy they agreed to could be used to target one of its members, prompting a review of Reid’s complaint.
In addition to the collusion case, Reid has continued to kneel during the national anthem, a practice he began as a San Francisco 49ers teammate of Colin Kaepernick, as his protest against police brutality and systemic oppression of minorities in America.
Reid told the Observer in December that the NFLPA reached out to him following his Week 10 drug test, but that the conversation was uninspiring.
“There was a brief call to my legal team, just trying to give an update on how the process works. That was the first contact they had,” Reid told the Observer on Dec. 20. “The answer they gave was the Panthers generally get tested more than other teams, anyways. I did a little digging and found out that’s not how the system works. Each team has 10 guys.
“So that answer was complete bull.”
Reid said he reached back out after further familiarizing himself with the testing policies and the NFLPA provided what he called an “inaccurate” review of his situation. The sixth-year safety said the NFLPA “couldn’t provide accurate dates” and was “missing a test,” causing him to question how much control it has over a program it helped design.
“What’s clear is that they don’t have accurate data as it relates to the drug tests that have been taken,” Reid said, “because they couldn’t provide accurate testing dates.”
Reid said the dates the NFLPA got wrong were the two tests that received the most publicity — his fourth random test of the season, after the Panthers played Pittsburgh in Week 10, and his fifth random test, after the Panthers played Seattle in Week 12.
Because of the discrepancies between his account and the NFLPA’s, Reid did not express confidence in the joint review of Dr. Lombardo’s testing.
The results of that review were made public Wednesday.
“We take any claim questioning the integrity of our collectively bargained performance enhancing drug policy seriously,” the NFL and NFLPA said in a joint statement regarding the review. “We asked the independent administrator of the policy to review and produce a report on the claims of targeting. A copy of this report, which contains personal and confidential testing information, has been provided to Eric Reid.
“We will not breach any player’s confidentiality, but can confirm that the report documents the dates he was randomly selected for testing and the actual dates of the drug tests. The report also demonstrates that Mr. Reid’s tests were randomly generated via computer algorithm and that his selection for testing was normal when compared with the number of tests players were randomly selected for throughout the league during the time that he was on an active roster.
“There is no evidence of targeting or any other impropriety with respect to his selection for testing.”