The NFL has long been criticized for its handling of steroids in recent years, but commissioner Roger Goodell has sought to change that trend by introducing a rule banning players from taking performance-enhancing drugs during the season.
“There are no rules that say we can’t take drugs during football games,” Goodell said Monday.
“But we’re not allowed to.
So we have to make sure we do the right thing and protect the health and safety of our players.”
The NFLPA said the new rule would require players to inform the league of any and all tests that they are undergoing to determine whether they’re under the influence of a performance-related drug.
“We’re going to do everything we can to make it as easy as possible for players to get tested and we are working on it,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.
The NFL has struggled with the issue of performance-based drugs in the past.
In September, a federal judge dismissed the league’s request for the suspension of Patriots defensive tackle Chandler Jones after the league found him not responsible for any performance- related drugs.
The ruling led the NFLPA to call for a new set of guidelines, saying the league has been unable to provide clear guidance to players on the issue.
A few weeks ago, Goodell also said that the league had received more than 50,000 calls and emails in support of the rule.
But the NFL has faced criticism for not acting on the calls and letters it received.
Goodell has said that while the league does not necessarily have the resources to monitor every player, it can take action if it has reason to believe that players are under the effect of drugs.
As the NFL continues to grapple with the performance–enhancer scandal, it is not the only professional sports league to find itself under scrutiny for its steroid use.
The Philadelphia Eagles, one of the NFL’s biggest rivals, were also hit with a suspension in November.