FRISCO, Texas (AP) – The NFL has accused Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman La’el Collins of attempting to bribe a drug testing official before the player was suspended five games for a violation drug addiction policy, according to court documents released Friday.
The allegation surfaced in a federal court case after Collins sued the league, its management board and commissioner Roger Goodell while seeking an injunction to end the suspension with two games remaining.
The NFL said the person collecting samples for testing wrote in his notes that in November 2020 Collins requested to meet him “man-to-man” and said he felt he “was too tested because (they) saw each other every day. ”
The collector said Collins asked if there was anything “we could do” and offered $ 5,000, then $ 10,000, according to the NFL filing in response to Collins’ injunction request.
Players ‘agent Peter Schaffer, one of Collins’ representatives, has strongly denied the corruption allegations against Collins, who was recovering from hip surgery at the time and was not playing in 2020.
“He would have bribed a collector without giving him any money, to look away from a negative test?” Schaffer said. âNo witnesses, no nothing. He entered in a T-shirt and shorts with crutches. How can you bribe someone?
A federal judge heard arguments regarding the injunction Friday in Sherman, Texas, about 105 kilometers north of Dallas. There was no immediate decision.
The Cowboys (3-1) face the New York Giants (1-3) at home on Sunday. Coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday there was no plan in place for Collins, the starting right tackle, to play against the Giants if the suspension was broken.
Collins ‘suspension was announced the day after Dallas’ 31-29 loss to defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay in Game 1, his first game since 2019.
On a suspension appeal, Schaffer called star quarterback Dak Prescott to testify in an attempt to refute the corruption allegation. Prescott testified to the pleasant nature of some of the conversations with the test collector and said he did not see Collins carry $ 10,000 on the day in question.
The league said in its record that Collins had a “long history of disciplining for repeated violations” of drug addiction policy. Collins missed seven drug tests over a five-week period at the time of the alleged bribe in November 2020, the NFL said.
Schaffer disputed what he called personal attacks on Collins during Friday’s hearing.
“That’s why it was so important for La’el to fight this thing so people can see that he’s not a bad person and that he doesn’t have this big story of failed tests and be a bad person, âSchaffer said. âExactly as they attacked him personally. He’s one of your players. Find a way to do it without making personal attacks. I was embarrassed to be in the NFL today because of the way NFL lawyers personally attacked La’el.
The league intended to suspend Collins for the first four games of 2020, but the board of directors and the players’ union agreed to a fine. The NFL said Collins continued to miss tests, resulting in a five-game suspension that the union negotiated at two.
An appeal of the two-game ban led a referee to reinstate the five-game suspension after the league alleged the attempted bribery of Collins.
Representatives for Collins claim the NFL falsely claimed the seventh-year player was already suspended for four games when he hadn’t. They also said he was suspended for failed tests when the new labor agreement in 2020 no longer allowed suspensions for missed tests or positive marijuana tests.
Representatives for the lineman said Collins had legitimate reasons for missing tests, including the death of an uncle in Arizona and the death of Cowboys strength coach Markus Paul, who collapsed in the weight room two days before last year’s Thanksgiving game.
Collins signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2015. The former LSU player was expected to be a high draft pick, but his name surfaced in the inquest into the death of a woman just before the draft. Collins was cleared in this case.
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