Doping lab won't test CFL players due to lack of punishment

The CFL and the CFLPA should take a firm stand against doping
There are zero consequences, in fact it is beneficial to cheat
All testing will have to be done in the States now

Doping lab won't test CFL players due to lack of punishment

[b]The only Canadian lab conducting accredited doping tests won't test CFL players because the league doesn't suspend a first offence and won't acknowledge university bans, according to its head of doping control.

Christiane Ayotte is the director of Montreal-based INRS-Insitut Armand-Frappier Research Centre, the only permanent drug testing facility in Canada approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

On Monday, she told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning she refuses to test football players in Canada because they face no consequences for doping violations.

"What is the point in testing and issuing positive results if nothing is being done?" Ayotte said. "That puts us in contradiction of our code of ethics that comes with WADA."

She said her decision was prompted by five Canadian university players who tested positive for anabolic steroids, or anabolic agents that have similar effects to steroids, in March.

Four athletes from Saint Mary's University in Halifax and one from the University of Laval tested positive during routine doping tests and each received a four-year ban from university football.

3 athletes drafted after testing positive

Those test results didn't stop teams from drafting three of the athletes and Ayotte said that's because the punishments do not transfer to the professional level.

"I found the CFL was silent," Ayotte said. "They were recruiting dopers."

The CFL's policy on preventing the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), crafted in 2010, stipulates a player who commits a violation of the policy is subject to mandatory testing for two years after the finding.

The player would then be tested up to eight times over that period during the season and off-season, and the player can volunteer to join a drug counselling program.

There is no suspension for a first offence. A second offence carries a three-game suspension, while a third offence leads to a year-long suspension.

Since the policy was put in place, the league has not disclosed any positive tests.

Ayotte said she thinks the league does not conduct enough drug tests and it is not serious enough about testing for PEDs, so her centre has taken a stand.

"I felt that we had a responsibility not continuing to give a gold stamp of approval," she said.

Lifetime bans for university players urged

Ayotte suggests a player who tests positive for PEDs while in university or college should not be drafted or recruited because it rewards cheaters.

She also believes Canadian student athletes carry a mentality they need to dope to reach their potential and that only reinforces that belief. Ayotte said athletes who test positive should be kicked out of university football.

"It may look tough, but what about the other young men who are trying to get there and use no dope to get there because they think it's a fair play," she said.

Ayotte suggested the House of Commons hold hearings similar to the U.S. Congress, which got involved after Major League Baseball's highly publicized doping era. That, she said, might put pressure on Canadian professional sports leagues to tighten rules around doping violations.[/b]

Over time the CFL will have to change its policy and become tougher and more transparent or it will cost them sponsors.

Almost sounds as Corrupt as a FIFA bidding process :thup: interesting topic? Why are they not following the NFL and that Policy?

Didier Orméjuste ?@DidierRDS 9m9 minutes ago
WR Mardy Gilyard was arrested for simple possession of marijuana at an off-campus location in Sherbrooke.

Yeesh, I didn't think anybody got arrested for possession of Marijuana anymore. :roll:
I guess if he had steroids he would have been fine. :wink:

From what I understand, these players enter the league with a "strike" against them and must submit to regular drug testing so they are being closely monitored and not getting off entirely scot-free. Should they have any positive results it will be treated as a second offense.

Personally I think that is appropriate. Not sure if anyone else saw the letters that all of the players wrote to the teams BEFORE the draft apologizing and explaining. I believe that all of them inadvertently used a supplement that contained a banned substance (true of all of the Mount Allison players anyway). They explained that they had neglected to properly research what they were taking and no doubt have now learned a valuable lesson. These students would have been under a fair bit of pressure as they were busy trying to maintain marks, play football at a high level, complete courses for their degree and, later in the year, train for the combine. It's really not surprising if they made a mistake with all that they were trying to accomplish under pressure. I like that the league gives them a bit of a break for making an honest mistake but puts them on notice that they will be monitored more closely than their fellow team mates. I find that the lab's position lacks little understanding or willingness to realize that young players sometimes make mistakes and are not all trying to "cheat".

"I didn't know what was in my supplements" is no excuse. I did Univeristy sport in Canada more than 20 years ago, and even back then the mandatory drug education seminars emphasized the risks of positive tests from seemingly benign over-the-counter supplements and medications (e.g. cold remedies with ephedrine). Any player who uses ignorance as an explanation is either lying to everyone else, lying to themselves, or is just dumber than a bag of rocks. The lack of regulation in the supplements industry means that like buying street drugs, you can never really be sure exactly what you're getting, and as a matter of policy, everybody who's competed in Canadian University sport in recent years has been taught this. But some people still roll the dice anyway, because they're desperate to get an edge.

It was 1 player drafted last year tested positive before the draft.
now 3 players drafted this year test positive before the draft
next year it will be 10 players testing positive
soon all CIS players in their last year will be on the juice to get better combine #'s,
If they don't they will be at a disadvantage.
The drug policy for the CFL is in the CBA.
It is both the CFL and the CFLPA that must agree to open the CBA and change the punishment

The issue here is really a question of "limbo" where these players fall between the cracks.

1.) They are not CFL players yet since they have not been drafted thus CFL rules do not apply.
2.) They have decided, by the most part, to not play in the CIS anymore by declaring for the draft, thus any CIS sanctions mean little to them.

Limbo ...

The CFL could punish them by making them ineligible for the draft ... but this creates even bigger potential problems.

For instance ... if I was the agent of a top prospect or top prospect myself, I would instruct my client or conclude myself that it would be better to fail a drug test, be declared ineligible for the draft, then negotiate to the highest bidder and/or best team/situation for myself rather than being drafted & having my rights/fortune dictated to me.

It's a very interesting situation. They didn't break any CIS rules since they no longer play in the CIS. Nor did they break any rules of the CFL since they are not yet a CFL player or CFLPA member.

Even though I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night ... I am not a lawyer ... but even I know this is a very tricky situation and position for all involved!

Some interesting tweets from Peter Dyakowski on the subject

Peter Dyakowski ?@PeterDyakowski 27m27 minutes ago
I have witnessed cases where a player with a serious problem has been helped by our program in a way that improves the rest of his life.

Peter Dyakowski ?@PeterDyakowski 31m31 minutes ago
Zero tolerance is a dinosaur that steamrolls a man and holds up his body as a warning to others with no regard for the human being involved.

Peter Dyakowski ?@PeterDyakowski 31m31 minutes ago
We have realized elsewhere in society that harsh initial penalties/prison terms are the worst way to deal with drug addictions.

Peter Dyakowski ?@PeterDyakowski 32m32 minutes ago
There may be a gap between our system and the CIS system when a player is a member of neither but this is already being solved internally.

Peter Dyakowski ?@PeterDyakowski 33m33 minutes ago
This is Canada. We believe in offering a player a second chance if he will seek treatment and change for the better. I am proud of the @CFL.

Peter Dyakowski ?@PeterDyakowski 33m33 minutes ago
Our model identifies & helps players who have serious underlying mental/emotional issues. We provide an opportunity for treatment & it works

Peter Dyakowski ?@PeterDyakowski 34m34 minutes ago
Our @CFL drug testing program is one of the best in sport. ZERO 2nd offences. Ever. We catch those with substance abuse problems & help them

What popped the cork was drafting (rewarding)suspended players. All that was asked of the CFL is to honor sanctions imposed by the CIS Just like the do with NFL suspensions.

The other issue is the lack of testing of players after their first offense.
The treatment and support component is not the issue.

The League has major problems with the concussion Lawsuit. They do not want a second problem at the same time so they will present, as best they can, a positive defense of the League Policy related to drugs.
Although there is both positive and negative public comment/feeling on both issues, the media will report both in a negative format which will not entice sponsors to support the league.

I wonder how much of it is a price point thing from the league…I remember reading or hearing somewhere that a single & thorough steroid/HGH test can run from 2-4000$, wheres a simple drug test (mary jane/heroin & other opiates) costs ~ 60$…

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I wonder if the league avoids steroid testing due to cost besides the point of not honoring the CIS and its suspended players…

I don't think cost has anything to do with it. The CIS players that tested positive for PEDs and were drafted are automatically considered to be "First Offenders", and are now subject to, IIRC, periodic (or random, I cannot remember which) drug testing (for ALL drugs, PEDs included). Any other positive results will be a second offence, and the player will be dealt with according to the rules of the CFL and the CFLPA.

There is no "limbo" here. The only option for the players if they wish to play football is to enter the draft. They would be under suspension in the CIS if they went back for their last year of eligibility, so they would be an entire year out of football, and therefore their draft position would suffer. If they wanted to go the Free Agent route, they may find that their value would be lower than that of a draftee, as they would have no Combine results.

I believe that KA and his scouts did their due diligence in investigating these players and decided that they are worth giving a second chance. The team has some amazing leaders that can help them find the right path and ensure they don't throw their lives away. It's too bad the lab has this mindset, because there ARE definite punishments for continued PED use.

Way to get on it, Mr. Commissioner :thup:

[url=http://www.tsn.ca/cfl-ends-relationship-with-drug-testing-partner-1.306075]http://www.tsn.ca/cfl-ends-relationship ... r-1.306075[/url]

If the CFL was seen as having no credibility before... How do they think they will be more credible when the labs they choose is not a signatory of WADA or CDPA ????

I think they are taking the wrong approach here. Taking on WADA, CCES, INRS, all highly regarded institutions is going to make them look even worse.

This is the entire letter for those interested

To: CFL Board of Governors

Dear Governors,

Nothing is more important to our league than the integrity of our game and the health and safety of our athletes.

Both are essential to our sport and our business.

That is why the CFL, in partnership with the Canadian Football League Players Association, introduced a policy four years ago that includes testing our players for performance enhancing drugs.

And it is why I, as your new Commissioner, am committed to continuous improvement of that policy, and why, within days of assuming this office, I reached out to Scott Flory of the CFLPA, who has assured me our players are equally committed to making a good policy, better.

Regrettably, I must inform you that an organization we must be able to rely on to help us implement our policy and advise its evolution has chosen to dishonour our binding agreement and breached our trust.

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, our partner in this mission by contract, has retained a lab as its agent to provide testing services. This lab is led by Christiane Ayotte and, in recent days, Ms. Ayotte has repeatedly and unfairly attacked the CFL in the media.

Today, we notified CCES and Ayotte that they are in clear breach of the confidentiality provisions of our agreement, and we have, therefore, terminated that agreement.

There can be no progress, in implementing our policy and improving it with them when we are no longer able to trust and have confidence in that relationship.

We are in discussions with other agencies and experts, well known in North America and trusted around the world, to assist us with our current efforts to evaluate and, where possible, improve our drug testing policy and program. Recently, we have also engaged them to discuss a transition of testing services to a new lab. I am very confident that the testing of our athletes will continue uninterrupted.

When our policy was introduced, a clear goal was stated: to affect positive behaviour and, should unacceptable behaviour occur, correct it immediately, forcefully and consistently.

That was communicated clearly to the media, the public, and of course, CCES.

Under the policy, we start with education, focus on prevention, and subject all players to random testing.

Should a player test positive a first time, he is referred for counseling and rehabilitation, and he is subjected to mandatory testing. At this stage of the process, our focus is squarely on helping the player address any issues that contributed to his usage, in an effort to help him understand, accept, and manage his responsibility to play clean.

If our efforts to help are not heeded, then the player will forfeit his right to play in our league. Repeat offenders are subjected to escalating penalties: a three game suspension for a second offence, a one year suspension for a third offence, and a lifetime ban for a fourth offence.

As we enter our fifth season under the policy, no player has tested positive a second time. The stated goal, to affect good behaviour and correct unacceptable behaviour should it occur, appears to have been met.

But, as you have already heard me say on several occasions, our best can always be better.

For example, we have already discussed with the Players Association how we might strengthen the policy when it comes to CIS players hoping to play in our league.

We accept our responsibility to always look for opportunities to strengthen the integrity of our game and the health and safety of our athletes. We have been actively engaged in discussions with the CFLPA and leading experts in this regard, and we will continue to do so. However, we must have unwavering trust and confidence in any organization or individual that we seek to rely upon for input, advice, and direction in this regard. CCES, through the actions of Dr. Ayotte, has caused us to lose such trust and confidence in them.

That is why we have taken the action we have taken today.

As always, please contact me directly at any time to discuss this or any other matter before us.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey

I strongly disagree with you, HfxTC. It seems to me that the CFL/CFLPA have an extremely successful programme in dealing with players using both PEDs and other drugs, especially since there has been a ZERO relapse rate over the FIVE YEARS that the system has been in place.

As you can read in Mr Oridge's letter, there are increasing penalties for repeat offenders. The ONLY thing that the CFL/CFLPA do NOT agree upon with the CCES/WADA is with immediate harsh punishments/bans upon a first offence. Don't forget, the CIS would ban them for a year. At least in the CFL, they are considered first offenders, and:

That is called "treating the issue", not "hitting it with a sledge hammer"; which the CCES seems to want. Again, the results speak for themselves - ZERO RE-OFFENDERS!

Ou encore la ligue n'a jamais retesté un joueur qui a eu un résultat positif. :wink:

Understandably this is an issue where most people feel strongly one way or the other.

Consider this. We don't know what the results mean. How many of the first time offenders had follow up testing and how many times were they tested ? Is off season surprise testing conducted ? Does the CFL go and administer tests to Americans living in the US during the off season ? We don't know. What we do know is that we are ok with all of our amateur athletes to be tested and fall under Canada's Anti-Doping Agency but because we are CFL fans we are ok with them making up their own rules ? How many athletes suspended for drug use have been caught a second time? Not many.

Let's take the case of Norzil who tested positive for SARMs. SARMs is one of the most expensive and potent PED around and until recently (about a year or two ago) was undetectable. That drug can only be detected up to 72 hours in your system. That means that Norzil had been "actively cheating"during the week preceeding the combine, so the other fifty guys who tested clean were cheated competing against a guy who was jacked for the combine. And his punishment LOL ! He gets drafted and welcomed into the league. If that wasn't enough he claimed the SARMS was "in" a commercial supplement :lol:
He didn't read the label properly, he claimed. Right ! :lol:

This is not a Union helping its membership. Its a union allowing cheaters into their ranks. As for the CFL it damages the actions they took with these prospects and fighting on the public square against respected institutions will likely make more enemies than friends. These days sponsors want nothing to do with controversy or drugs of any kind but in particular PED's.

This league needs more than anything to become more transparent and more professional IMO. Secret neg lists, secret payrolls, secret contracts, secret drug testing program. They need to get with the times.

You guys (HfxTC included) don't get it. If a player fails their first test, they are subject to MANDATORY testing. No ifs, ands, or buts. IMHO, this is a situation that is being blown WAY out of proportion.

Oh I get it and it isn't just us. Glen Constantin, Pierre Vercheval, Sam Giguere, LBJ, Brian Dobie, Darren Gill, have all criticized the current policy in particular the drafting of dirty players. I would not be at all surprised if the CIS removes the last year of eligibility to players who attend CFL combines and training camps.

Subject to, referred to.... all words that mean very little. Offenders should at the VERY LEAST be listed on the CADP Database with dates and test results published so that teams, players can verify that the cheater is at least being tested, how often and when.

Part of the CFLPA "excuse" is that their players don't make much money, so they should not be "outed". Hell, amateurs that make NO money are tested. The whole thing makes them look very bad.

I think the CFL is going down the wrong path. WADA and the CCES have offered the CFL to sit and discuss the situation and instead the league is running away...