Merriman's Appeal Scheduled to be Heard on Nov. 7
NEW ORLEANS--Shawne Merriman's appeal of his pending four-game suspension for testing positive under the league's steroid-testing program is scheduled to be heard on Nov. 7.
The San Diego Chargers linebacker remains eligible to play in the meantime.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell declined to comment on the specifics of the case today.
"That's under an appeals process," Goodell said. "From our standpoint, we'll let the appeals process go and see where we come out."
Merriman's attorney, David Cornwell, said Monday that Merriman likely unwittingly ingested the banned substance nandrolone in a supplement he was taking.
The NFL Players Association has a program under which it screens supplements and certifies those that don't contain substances banned by the league.
"I don't know the circumstances yet," Goodell said. "We haven't had the appeal. So right now the circumstances of what he took or what he says he took, I don't know the specifics on that. We do have a program that allows our players to take supplements where we have confidence in what is put into the supplement."
Merriman's pending suspension comes on the heels of Atlanta Falcons guard Matt Lehr and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Shaun Rogers being suspended for violating the steroids policy.
"We have always believed we have an effective drug program, but we always look to see how we can make it more effective," Goodell said.
Several owners said at today's owners' meeting they believe the league's steroid-testing program is functioning well.
"We really have been serious about that issue," Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "We couldn't be more serious about it. I think we're well-informed in that area. It's an ongoing thing, but the best thing to say is that we're really focused strongly on it."
Said Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen: "I think we do a very good job. We were out there on those issues a long time ago. Do we have some fumbles? Yes, but they're honest fumbles. I think as a league we have a very good policy.... I think there's too much at risk for a player [to take steroids]. If you're a player and you're doing that, there's a very good chance you're going to get caught."
Goodell has had recent discussions with Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, about making possible changes that would be aimed at strengthening the league's testing program but the two haven't reached an agreement.
"We're having continuing dialogue," Goodell said. "... We're looking at everything from a standpoint of how we can continue to have an effective program and continue to be the leader in that area."
By Mark Maske |
October 24, 2006; 9:47 PM ET
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