General overall view of NFL shield logo at midfield at NRG Stadium prior to Super Bowl LI. between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots.(Photo: Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports)
Four members of a congressional committee have asked the NFL and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to answer to the allegations made in lawsuit alleging team medical and league officials ignored safety standards and the law when it came to dispensing painkillers to players.
Frank Pallone, Jr. of New Jersey, Gene Green of Texas, Diana DeGette of Colorado and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois — all Democratic leaders in the Energy and Commerce Committee — sent letters to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg seeking information obtained in sealed court documents by last week.
The representatives excerpted part of the letter sent to Goodell in a news release issued on Wednesday.
“We are writing to request additional information regarding troubling allegations that personnel of National Football League (NFL) teams violated various federal laws governing prescription drugs, and administered powerful narcotics and pain medications without adequately disclosing the risks and side effects to their player. These allegations suggest a troubling lack of respect for the laws governing the handling of controlled substances, and raise questions about the League’s dedication to the health and safety of its players.”
The 127-page filing obtained by was part of a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by more than 1,800 former NFL players. It contained testimony and other correspondence from team medical staffers as well as the league, including communication in which officials were alleged to have been aware of issues with supplying players with painkillers in a manner that would violate federal law.
The lawmakers said they wanted information from the NFL on the following questions:
– Did non-physician trainers at any time administer or dispense Toradol or any controlled substance to former or current NFL players?
– In cases in which prescription medicines were administered or dispensed, were NFL players provided with all information regarding the drug(s) they were given, including dosage amounts, possible side effects, and reasons for receiving the drug(s)?
– Did the NFL maintain records of all prescription drugs—including any controlled substances—administered or dispensed to each NFL player? If so, whose job was it to collect those records, and are they still in the NFL’s possession?
– What DEA guidance did the NFL receive regarding the storage, transport, and distribution of controlled substances, and has the NFL followed all DEA guidance? Please also provide a list and timeline of subsequent actions taken by NFL officials in response to all DEA guidance.